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Cuban-Style Shrimp Enchiladas (Enchilado de Camarones)

Before we jump into the recipe, let’s go ahead and make one thing clear – Cuban enchilado doesn’t have tortillas and this dish isn’t baked. And, no, I haven’t gone crazy – Cuban ‘enchiladas’ are actually called enchilado,” and it’s an entirely different dish. As far as I can tell, nothing can separate a Cuban from his rice, and Cuban enchilado is actually a sort of almost-stew served over (surprise!) rice. It’s a delicious dish, but I didn’t want to lead anyone on with false promises of baked tortillas or stuffed peppers and whatnot.

Made as written, this recipe can feed up to four as a main dish. Being only two, we had it for supper and then for leftovers the next day. Like most tomato-based dishes, it gets even tastier after a day in the fridge.

cuban shrimp enchilado

Ingredients for Cuban Shrimp Enchilado

  • 5 tablespoons of butter
  • 1 bell pepper (I used green)
  • 1 medium onion
  • 5 cloves of garlic
  • 6 roma tomatoes
  • 2 teaspoons of cumin
  • 1/4 cup of white wine, preferably a drier wine (not a sweet one!)
  • 1 tablespoon of lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup of water or chicken broth
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 pound of shrimp (thawed, deveined, shelled, etc)
  • 1/4 cup of cilantro

vegetables for enchiladas

Enchilado de Camarones Recipe

1. Begin by preparing all of the vegetables. Dice the onion and bell pepper, mince the garlic, and peel and dice the tomatoes. This is easiest to do if you blanch the tomatoes. If you’re not sure how, just check out my easy tomato blanching instructions! Try to reserve as much of the tomato juice as possible.

mis en place

2. Heat the butter over medium heat in a dutch oven or similar pot. You can use one of those deep skillets with straight sides, but there will be too much volume for a regular frying pan. Cook the butter until it melts, foams, and the foaming subsides. It should being looking slightly brown and have a nutty aroma – just don’t burn it!

3. Add the bell pepper and onions, stirring to coat with butter, and cook for 3-4 minutes (stirring occasionally) until the onions just begin to turn translucent.

4. Add the garlic, stir, and cook for an additional 1-2 minutes.

5. Stir in the powdered cumin.

6. Add the wine, scraping the bottom with a wooden or nylon spatula to loosen anything stuck there.

7. Stir in the tomatoes, and reserved tomato juice, and the water/chicken broth.

8. Allow to simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally, for about 15 minutes to let the flavors meld. Turn down the temperature, as needed to maintain a light simmer.

9. While the sauce simmers, chop the cilantro or use kitchen scissors to cut it. Set aside.

10. Stir in the shrimp and allow them to cook until they’re pink and done. The exact amount of time needed to cook the shrimp will depend on their size and the dish’s temperature, but it should only take about 3 minutes.

11. Remove from the heat, garnish with chopped cilantro, and serve with rice.

Cuban Shrimp Enchilado

Have you eaten Cuban enchilado before? Did you realize there was such a thing as a Cuban enchilado and that it involved rice? Whether this dish is novel or old hat to you, it is delicious and sure to be a hit. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can add in lobster tail, mussels, and even scallops for a veritable seafood feast. The very first meal my man and I enjoyed was a shrimp and lobster enchilado we cooked together. A different first dinner date, I suppose, but it worked out well and was the start of something fantastic. Because of that, this dish holds a special place in my heart and I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.




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