Thanks to long-time reader & commenter SueK for a story and a seriously good recipe. First the story…
My Mom’s mom died when my Mom was 16, after a long illness. Because of the illness, they had a housekeeper. As a result, Mom never learned to cook. My Dad was in the National Guard, and his unit was drafted for WWII. He was sent to the Pentagon and we lived in Alexandria. Mrs Callaway was next door, across the breezeway. She taught my Mom – together with Joy of Cooking – how to cook. Mrs. Callaway was from Tennesee – my Mom was from Boston. Interesting connection. Anyway, this is a recipe from Mrs. Callaway that my Mom depended on in later years when she had to do a lot of entertaining. That was in the old days…nobody seems to do that stuff anymore! Well…except for family stuff. Mom would cook up large batches, freeze it in smaller containers, then when Dad would call at 4PM and tell her he was bringing someone home for dinner at about 6PM, it was just a matter of thaw and serve. I’m not sure how she did the shrimp…she didn’t have the option of buying prepared frozen shrimp like we do. Still a good recipe!
3 onions, sliced fairly thin
2 teaspoons worcestershire
2 bay leaves
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1/4 cup ketchup
1 can (about 4 oz) mushroom stems and pieces with liquid
1 lb shrimp, cooked, peeled and deveined
Start with about 1/3 stick of butter. Melt it in a big fry pan and add sliced onions. Add the worcestershire, bay leaves and seed. Cook _very_ slowly. This is likely to take an hour or more. Very good for a non-work day…makes the house smell great! The onions shouldn’t brown really – just get very soft and carmelize a bit, meaning they all turn a sort of soft brown, but not browned in the way that you usually brown food in a fry pan.
Add the soup, ketchup and mushrooms. Sherry gives it a nice flavor if you have it. You can use it on the onions if they tend to get dry, and then add a couple of tablespoons – up to about a quarter cup, I think – to the rest of the mix. When I added ketchup, I tended to add it till it was the right color.* At this point, you can heat it more or refrigerate it.** Add the shrimp just long enough before serving for it to get hot. If you leave them in too long while the whole thing is on the heat, the shrimp tends to shrink and get rubbery and tough, so if you split it and have some that is in the fridge, heat it first, then when it’s hot add the shrimp and continue heating for just long enough for the shrimp to get hot.
*Good color being about the same color as yours in the photo.
**You can also freeze it at this point. It freezes well – without the shrimp.