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James Island Shrimp Pie

By: Hannah Lee Leidy
Photo by Felicia Perry Trujillo

Food Culture of the South

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Serves 8

  • 1 cup rice
  • 2 teaspoons salt, plus more to taste
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 tablespoons worcestershire sauce
  • 2 pounds medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1 large tomato, sliced
  • 1½ cups breadcrumbs
  • The South is full of old Junior League cookbooks. Author Matthew Register often turns to them as a source of inspiration, to look back into the kitchens of women from decades past and see what they cooked for the people they love. One of his favorites is Charleston Receipts, published by the Junior League of Charleston in 1950. There, you’ll find a recipe for “James Island Shrimp Pie,” submitted by Mrs. John T. Jenkins. The original calls for ketchup and mace, which Register omitted in favor of fresh sliced tomatoes along with bell peppers and onions for extra crunch and flavor.
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease a 9×9-inch baking dish and set aside. In a small pot over medium heat, combine rice, salt, and 2 cups water and cook until very soft, about 25 minutes. Set aside.
  2. In a large skillet over medium heat, melt butter. Add onion and bell pepper and cook until onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and worcestershire sauce and stir until garlic becomes aromatic. Add shrimp and cook until pink, about 3 minutes, stirring to prevent burning. Remove from heat and season to taste with salt and black pepper.
  3. In a heatproof mixing bowl, combine cooked rice, shrimp mixture, heavy cream, eggs, and flour. Stir until well-combined; it should have a custard-like thickness. Pour mixture into prepared baking dish. Place tomato slices over top of mixture, making sure not to layer them. Sprinkle breadcrumbs over tomatoes. Bake until bubbly and golden brown, about 25 minutes.


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