Adapted from Gourmet, September 2001, the fiftieth anniversary edition that collected the best recipes. This recipe was originally printed in January 1985. Says Gourmet: In this intriguing shrimp in adobo from Elisabeth Lambert Ortiz, the ancho chiles—sweeter and milder than you might expect—are tempered by the acidity of white wine and vinegar and offset by buttery avocados.
We have enjoyed this delicious spicy shrimp so often. Chris and Andy are fans too. Opening the bottle of white wine to get ½ cup for the recipe always seems to end with an empty bottle at the end of the wonderful meal.
Remember to start your rice first. Once or twice we ended up with spicy shrimp and nothing to put them over.
4 large dried ancho chiles (2 oz)
3-4 tablespoons warm water
1 medium onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
¼ teaspoon dried oregano, crumbled
¼ cup olive oil
½ cup dry white wine
¼ cup distilled white vinegar
1½ teaspoons sugar
½ teaspoon salt
1 pound to 1½ pounds large shrimp, shelled and deveined
Garnish: diced avocados and chopped fresh cilantro
Accompaniment: steamed rice
Heat a dry griddle or heavy skillet (preferably cast-iron) over moderate heat until hot and toast chiles, 1 or 2 at a time, pressing down with tongs, a few seconds on each side to make more pliable. Discard stems, seeds, and veins and tear chiles into small pieces.
Soak chiles in 1 ½ cups warm water 30 minutes, then drain. Purée chiles, onions, garlic, and oregano in a blender or food processor with 3-4 tablespoons warm water (enough to form a thick purée).
Heat oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderate heat until hot but not smoking, then stir in purée and cook, stirring constantly, 5 minutes. Add wine, vinegar, sugar, and salt and simmer, stirring, 5 minutes. (Sauce should be very thick.)
Add shrimp, stirring to coat, and simmer, covered, until shrimp are just cooked through, 4 to 6 minutes. Season with salt and serve over rice.