We have visited Portugal a few times, and the country’s cuisine always impresses us. From north to south, at the coast or inland, from the simplest to the most exquisite, one thing is certain: you eat very well in Portugal! A few years ago, we adopted a “pescatarian” diet (we didn’t eat red meat, pork and meat products already, and at that time we also stopped eating chicken), and we were very pleased that fish and seafood are very common ingredients and made in a huge number of delicious ways there.
A dish we saw at several restaurants and in different cities was the “Feijoada de Gambas” (bean stew with large shrimp). We did not get to try it because we found out that the stew usually contains chorizo or sausage, which we do not eat, but I was curious and decided to research recipes to develop a version we could enjoy at home.
After some testing and adjustments, the result is below! This recipe also has influences from the cuisines of Spain and Italy, and while it is simple enough to make for the family at any time, it is also very tasty and different to serve to friends and impress guests.
Shrimp and Bean Stew
- 600g (1 1/3 lb) shrimp about 31-40 size, already headless, peeled and clean (if you want, reserve the shells to make a broth)
- 2 to 3 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
- 2 tsp smoked paprika
- 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
- 2 anchovy fillets in oil, drained and minced
- 2 cans or 4 cups of white beans (cannellini) cooked with salt
- 1 large can or 3 cups diced tomatoes
- 1 / 2 cup shrimp broth (made with reserved shells) or water
- 1 / 2 cup of dry white wine (optional)
- Salt and black pepper to taste
- 1 / 2 cup of chopped fresh parsley
- 1 tsp lemon zest (optional)
- Shrimp broth (optional): In a large pan or large saucepan with a lid, heat 1 Tbsp olive oil over medium heat. Add the shrimp shells and cook, stirring constantly, until they are browned and a bit charred in some spots, about 5-6 minutes. Remove from heat and carefully add 1 cup of water (watch for splatter). Return the pan or skillet to low heat, cover and let the broth simmer for about 5 minutes, stirring a few times. Discard the shells, reserving the broth (yield 1/4 to 1/2 cup).
- On medium heat, heat 2 Tbsp olive oil in a pan or frying pan (can be the same used for the broth), add the onion and cook until translucent and starting to brown, about 5-6 minutes. Add the garlic, paprika, pepper flakes and anchovies, and cook for about 2 minutes stirring regularly.
- Add the cooked beans, tomatoes, shrimp broth or water, wine (if using) and mix well. If you prefer a “soupier” stew, double the amount of broth or water (1 cup in total). Taste and adjust the seasoning to taste with salt and a pinch of black pepper. Bring to a boil, lower the heat and cook for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add the shrimp, mix, cover the pan and boil for 5 to 7 minutes, stirring once at half the time, until the shrimp is cooked, rosy and opaque. Remove the lid, and stir to distribute ingredients evenly.
- Turn off the heat, add the parsley and lemon zest (optional). Serve in a bowl, drizzled with good olive oil and accompanied by slices of bread, if desired. Enjoy!
- This recipe has plenty of shrimp. If you want to increase the recipe to serve 2 more people, you can add up to 2 more cups of cooked beans and you will still have enough shrimp.
- If you don’t have restrictions with meat, chorizo or sausage sliced and sautéed can be added along with the shrimp to cook in the broth or on top just before serving.
- Another option is to make a “Bean and Seafood Stew”, replacing a portion of the shrimp with mussels, clams, lobster pieces, or other seafood of your choice.