Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Creole Shrimp and Crab Simmer

Hale and Hearty recently came out with some new dishes they call Simmers. I saw them in a couple of their window ads, but forgot that they had come out whenever I went in to get soup recently. They describe these simmers as "Inspired by our favorite comfort dishes, SIMMERS are chunky, thick, melt-in-your-mouth stews, ladled generously over a pasta or grain base."

Based on their flavor choices, they certainly went after the comfort food aspect, and I'm all for that when the weather gets colder. This time around I opted for the Spicy Creole Crab & Shrimp with Bayou Rice. It's described as "Succulent crab and gulf shrimp simmered in a classic Louisiana base of roux, fresh seasonings, and Tabasco for a kick of heat. Served with Bayou Rice, Chef Bruce’s own red rice made with onions, peppers, tomatoes, and Creole spice."

That definitely sounded tasty, and the picture they put up made it look amazing. They prepare these by first spooning out the grain/carbohydrate component into a bowl and then topping it all with the stew. My first thought when I got the covered bowl was that the bottom seemed too cold. The lady next to me that also got one remarked on the same, and she was told that the grains are cold so that the stew placed on top can warm it up. Seemed odd to me, but if it worked then it worked.

Right off the bat, I noticed that my bowl didn't quite look like the bowl they used to advertise the flavor. Mostly I noticed the distinct lack of shrimp though I did know that a few had been put in. I kept an open mind, though, and mixed everything up to allow the rice to warm up before I ate everything. Flavor-wise it was pretty good. It tasted a bit like their gumbo, and the crab added a bit of sweetness to the stew. The rice itself did warm up nicely, and it all came together quite well. I was a bit disappointed by how little shrimp ended up being in my bowl, but I can live with that as it did taste good.

My only other gripe was the package that came with my bowl. Normally they pack a little package with a spoon, napkin, and salt and pepper when you get soup. However, for this bowl they opted for a fork instead of a spoon. Anyway, that's the last gripe I have. These simmers seem like a good idea, and I do like this initial offering I had. I'll look into trying to the others, and I'll probably also look into getting this one again, too.

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