Shrimp & Oyster Perloo

18 Jan


I just picked up the most recent issue of Saveur magazine. Terrific issue this go around and the following recipe captured our attention. We spent several years in the SC Lowcountry and this dish is one of that region’s classics.


One-pot rice dishes can be remarkably adaptable and easy to cook. Our favorite is perloo, from the Lowcountry of South Carolina, a cousin of jambalaya that traces its origins to the family of Middle Eastern dishes known as pilafs. Like other rice-based specialties, such as arroz con pollo and biriyani, perloo can be made with a wide range of ingredients, in this case country ham and shrimp.

2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1⁄2 lb. country ham, finely chopped
1⁄2 lb. kielbasa, cut on the diagonal
   into 1⁄4″-thick slices
2 medium onions, chopped
1 red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded,
   and chopped
1 jalapeño, stemmed, seeded, and chopped
3 tbsp. chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 tsp. dried thyme
1⁄2 tsp. cayenne pepper
Kosher salt and freshly ground
   black pepper, to taste
3 medium tomatoes, peeled,
   seeded, and chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 cup long-grain rice
3⁄4 cup chicken broth
25 medium oysters, shucked (about 9 oz.),
   1⁄2 cup of their liquor reserved
35 large shrimp (about 1 1⁄2 lbs.), peeled
5 scallions, chopped, to garnish

1. In a 6-qt. pot, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add ham and kielbasa and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add onions, peppers, jalapeños, parsley, thyme, and cayenne and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 10 minutes. Add tomatoes and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until liquid from the tomatoes thickens, about 10 minutes. Stir in rice, chicken broth, and oyster liquor. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer, covered, until rice is almost cooked through, about 20 minutes.

2. Stir in shrimp and oysters. Cover and continue to cook on medium-low heat until the shrimp are bright pink and the edges of the oysters have curled, about 10 minutes. Season with salt. Serve perloo sprinkled with the chopped scallions.

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