Shellfish Stock for Amêijoas Na Cataplana – Algarve
Author: António M. Jorge da Silva
Serves: 6 quarts
- 1 ½ lbs prawns with shell
- 2 tbsp lobster bullion paste if lobster shells not available
- 8 qts water
- 2 large carrots, peeled and sliced
- 2 large onions, left whole, crosscut halfway
- 2 large tomatoes, left whole, crosscut halfway
- Bouquet garnish (herbs in bag or tied together) – parsley (4 sprigs), thyme (3 sprigs), sage (5 leaves), bay leaves (4 leaves), black peppercorns (12)
- 1 large red bell pepper, roasted then blended to liquefy
- Remove the shells from the prawns. Set the prawns in one bowl and the shells in another.
- Roast the red pepper over high heat until all sides are charred. Put the pepper into the sink, cover with a damp paper towel for 10 minutes or so then if the pepper is not too hot to handle remove it, peel of the skin, slit in half then remove and discard the seeds. Rough chop the pepper then put it in a blender. Do not blend yet.
- Add the water into a large pot. Bring to the boil then add the meat of the prawns and boil for ½ minute. Remove the prawns and leave to cool.
- Add the shells to the water together with the onions, tomatoes, carrots and the bouquet garni.
- Bring to the boil again then turn the heat down to low, and leave to simmer, uncovered, over low heat for about 3 hours. Skim off scum as necessary from the surface of the stock. Liquid should have reduced by 25% - 30% within the 3-hour period. Leave to cool.
- Next put the meat of the prawns and the chopped pepper into the blender with 2 cups of the stock from the pot. Blend until smooth (about 1 minute) then pour into a bowl and set aside in the refrigerator.
- When the base of the stock is cool pour all the liquid and the cooked and softened ingredients into a strainer placed over another pot or large bowl. Press out the juices then strain leaving only the stock.
- Add the blended pepper and prawn meat to the stock, stir in and leave to cool completely then refrigerate until ready to use.
This stock can be kept for 2 to 3 days if refrigerated or it may be frozen for use up to about 2 months.