RECIPE: Slow Cooker Fire Roasted Tomato & Shrimp Tacos
I know slow cookers are usually used for fall and winter comfort food dishes. I think it is because usually, it's the hearty meat cuts that do well in the crock pot, and those are meats usually used for hearty soups and stews. And let's face it, who wants hot soup when it's 90 degrees out?
But let's think about it. Who wants to slave over a hot stove during the summer either? And who wants to think too hard about dinner when there is pool time, yard work, house projects and kids to occupy all day? I think summer has its own need for the slow cooker. Especially when you aren't a big griller and hubby is out of town (fishing...cough cough*).
Slow cookers are great for light summer dishes too. Case in point: this shrimp taco meal I made this week. I had a lot of outdoor chores to do one day, so I put this together after lunch, and come dinnertime it was easy to assemble.
There is one stove top step I included for this, which you can skip if you want. Slow cookers make a lot of liquid. Sometimes it's the right amount and sometimes not. Because this dish uses frozen shrimp, you do get a lot of liquid. You can simply just strain them out and serve the shrimp as is. But if you want a richer, punchier dish, you can add my extra step below, which is cooking down all that wonderful juice. It just takes a quick 15 on the stove, and you can do it while you chop, shred and mash all the taco toppings. It makes for a messier taco, but aren't tacos supposed to be messy? As long as they are extra delicious, who cares?
You can choose your own toppings, but considering these were shrimp, the toppings I put together seemed to compliment the light fish profile nicely like a white cheese (pepper jack), red onions, and spinach versus lettuce. 'The teenager' had a third taco and included lots of the sauce. So boiling down all that extra juice was a win over here!
Slow Cooker Fire Roasted Tomato & Shrimp Tacos
Adapted from CotterCrunch.com
16 oz. frozen peeled, and cleaned shrimp
1 1/2 Tbsp. olive oil
14.5 oz. can fire roasted diced tomatoes
3 Tbsp. salsa
1 Tbsp. honey
1/2 cup chopped chargrilled or roasted red pepper
1 Tbsp. dried garlic (2 Tbsp. fresh minced)
dash of sea salt and fresh ground pepper
1/2 tsp. Caribbean spice blend (or other spicy chili/Mexican/taco blend)
3/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 Tbsp. dried parsley
1/4 chopped cilantro (optional)
squeeze of lime
grated pepper jack cheese
chopped red onion
mashed, salted avocado
light sour cream
chopped cilantro (optional)
In a slow cooker set to low, layer the frozen shrimp at the bottom. Drizzle olive oil and honey on top. Add the salsa, garlic, spices and red pepper. Drain the diced tomatoes to reduce liquid content, then add them as well. Give a quick stir and cover. Cook on low 3.5-4 hours, high for 2 hours.
When shrimp are cooked through, fish them out of the slow cooker. leaving as much liquid as possible behind. Set aside the shrimp, and pour what is left in the crock pot into a saucepan. Heat the contents to a rolling boil (a medium high heat does the trick) and cook down the liquid to about 1/3 of a cup or so. This takes about 15 minutes. While this is cooking down, chop and prep your toppings and set on the table.