Moqueca de Camarão – Brazilian Shrimp Stew

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This is the best kind of recipe: common ingredients combine to create a knock-your-socks-off meal (or starter).  It’s bright and complex, without being overly spiced.  It’s also a good way to use up smaller- and less expensive- shrimp; I like being able to get spoonfuls that have everything, the shrimp, the pepper and onion and some of the flavorful broth.

Adapted from Gourmet:

* 1  lb small shrimp (60-80 per lb), peeled and deveined
* 1/4 tsp. black pepper
* 1 1/2 tsp. salt
* 3 cloves garlic, minced
* 1/4 cup lemon juice
* 1 can (15 oz) diced tomatoes in juice
* 1 medium onion, chopped
* 1 green bell pepper, chopped
* 1 1/2 TB. olive oil
* 1/2 tsp. cayenne
* 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
* 1 cup coconut milk

Combine the shrimp with the pepper, 1/2 tsp. salt, garlic and lemon juice.  Cover and marinate for about 20 minutes.

Puree the tomatoes in a blender until smooth.

Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan and cook the onion and bell pepper until softened.  Add cayenne, a pinch of the cilantro, and the remaining teaspoon of salt and cook for one minute, stirring.  Add the tomato puree and simmer until the mixture is thick, about 10 minutes.  Stir in the coconut milk and bring to a boil.  Add the shrimp mixture and cook until the shrimp are cooked, approximately 5 minutes.

Stir in the remaining cilantro and serve.

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