Shrimp and Sausage Cioppino – Surf and Turf in a bowl

Easy and Hearty Stew

Let’s start with a cooking lesson from a real French culinary expert: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=5t3Iuoln2WQ 

Cooking with Sabrina - How to Crack and Egg

Cooking with Sabrina – How to Crack and Egg

We’ve been watching a lot of Audrey Hepburn classics lately. She is such a lady. In one of her first films Sabrina (1954), Audrey Hepburn plays the love-sick daughter of a chauffeur. Unnocticed and heartbroken by the wealthy David Larrabee (William Holden), Sabrina is sent to Paris to attend cooking school. She is not the most skilled student in class. Her broken heart is a distraction to cracking eggs correctly and baking beautiful souffles. She writes to her father that she thought stews and soups were hard, but the sauces proved even more difficult. She almost flunked her sauce exam.

Sabrina Fairchild - A sophisticated lady with a cooking degree from Paris

 

We both have been Sabrina while cooking. Maybe not heartbroken, but distracted by our own thoughts which leads to burnt sauces and over-whipped batters. A disaster!

This Shrimp and Sausage Cioppino can withstand the mindless mistakes of the distracted chef. Even broken-hearted Sabrina would have bedazzled her scrutinizing teacher with this stew.

We prepared this stew for our annual holiday dinner with long time family friends, the Conroys. It is the perfect meal for entertaining because everything can be done ahead of time that way you can make sure to enjoy sipping champagne and chatting with your friends…and they won’t seem like distractions. We prepared the stew 2 hours before our friends arrived and then reheated it on the stove an hour before serving. It was hearty and satisfying, and required no French culinary instruction. Any Sabrina can make it!

Happy double dipping!

 

Recipe Adapted from Weeknights with Giada

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 large fennel bulb, trimmed and chopped into ½ inch pieces
  • 4 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
  • 2 large or 4 small shallots, chopped
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound spicy Italian sausage turkey links, casings removed
  • 2 cups dry white wine (we used chardonnay)
  • ¼ cup tomato paste
  • 3 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 dried bay leaf
  • 1 pound peeled and deveined large shrimp
  • 1 15 ounce can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh chopped thyme leaves

Method

  1. In a Dutch oven or large sauce pan, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the fennel, garlic, shallots, ½ tsp. salt and ¼ tsp. pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are slightly softened (about 4 minutes).
  2. Add the sausage and break into ½ inch pieces with a wooden spoon. Cook until brown (about 5 minutes).
  3. Add the wine and scrape the brown bits that cling to the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Stir in the tomato paste, chicken broth and bay leaf. Bring to a simmer, cover, and cook over medium-low heat for 10 minutes.
  4. Uncover the pan and add the shrimp, beans, basil and thyme. Simmer uncovered, until the shrimp is pink and cooked through (about 4 minutes).
  5. Remove the bay leaf and discard. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  6. Serve with fresh French bread to double dip and enjoy!
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