Perloo (or, as it’s often spelled, pilau) is a specialty of the Carolinas: a hearty, one-pot rice dish descended from Middle Eastern pilafs and chock-full of a rich variety of meats and vegetables. This variation showcases shrimp and oysters, along with the kick of chilies and the smoky flavor of ham and kielbasa. This multicultural dish is great for potlucks or family dinners – delicious, filing, and easy to prepare.

You will need:

  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1/2 lb. country ham, finely chopped
  • 1/2 lb. kielbasa, cut on the diagonal into quarter-inch thick slices
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and chopped
  • 1 jalapeno, stemmed, seeded, and minced
  • 2 T chopped flat leaf parsley
  • 1 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 3 medium tomatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled, smashed and chopped
  • 1 c long grain rice
  • 3/4 c chicken broth
  • 25 medium oysters, shucked, with 1/2 c of the liquor reserved
  • 35 large shrimp, peeled
  • 5 scallions, chopped (for garnish)
1. Heat the olive oil over medium in a very large soup pot.  Add ham and kielbasa and cook until lightly browned, stirring occasionally.  Add the onions, peppers, jalapenos, parsley, thyme, and cayenne, then season with salt and pepper.  Cook until soft – around 10 minutes.

2. Add the tomatoes and garlic and cook until a sauce starts to form – about another 10 minutes.  Stir in the rice, chicken broth, and oyster liquor, and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat to low, and simmer, covered, until the rice is almost cooked – around 20 minutes.

3.  Gently stir in the shrimp and oysters.  Cover and continue to cook until the shrimp are bright pink and the edges of the oysters have curled – about 10 minutes.  Be careful not to overcook.  Season with salt and serve garnished with the chopped scallions.

Serves 6 – (from Saveur, Jan/Feb 2009).

Shrimp and Oyster Perloo

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