Last updated on 17-Sep-2023
We have travelled around Portugal a few times, and the country’s cuisine always impresses us. From north to south, by 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 “pescetarian” diet (we didn’t eat red meat, pork and meat products already, and at that time we also stopped eating poultry), 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 while eating out because we found out that the stew usually contains chorizo or other sausages, 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 an unusual option to serve to friends and impress guests.
Ready for this comforting bowl of deliciousness?
Shrimp and Bean Stew
- 600 g shrimp 31-40/lb or 60-80/kg size, already headless, peeled and deveined (optional: reserve the shells to make a broth)
- 2-3 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion large, finely chopped
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 2 tsp smoked paprika
- ¼ tsp red pepper flakes
- 2 anchovy fillets in oil drained and minced (optional)
- 4 cup white beans (cannellini) cooked with salt, or two 540ml (19oz) cans
- 3 cup canned diced tomatoes or one 796ml (28oz) can, with juices
- 1/2-1 cup shrimp stock (made with reserved shells) or water
- ½ cup dry white wine (optional)
- salt and pepper to taste
- ½ cup parsley chopped
- 1 tsp lemon zest (optional)
Shrimp broth (optional)
- In a large pan 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. Strain to discard the shells and reserve the broth (yields sbout 1/2 cup).
- On medium heat, warm 2 Tbsp olive oil in a 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 (optional), 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 (to 1 cup in total). Taste and adjust the seasoning 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, stir, cover the pan and boil for a few minutes, stirring a couple more times, just until the shrimp is cooked - rosy and opaque.
- Turn off the heat, add the parsley and lemon zest (optional). Serve in a bowl, drizzled with good EV olive oil and accompanied by slices of rustic bread or plain cooked rice. Enjoy!
- This recipe has plenty of shrimp. It's possible to increase the recipe to serve 2 more people by adding up to 2 more cups of cooked beans and you will still have enough shrimp.
- Introduce another layer of flavour and more texture by adding some sliced chorizo (or another cured sausage) to sauté with the onions in the beginning, or pan-frying them separately and adding them along with the shrimp to cook in the broth or simply sprinkling the browned slices 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.