The Top Chef finalist (who will compete on the show's all-star season in March) and owner of Pinch & Plate in Washington, D.C., celebrates the flavors of West Africa in this easy, crowd-pleasing meal
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shrimp and rice in an enamel pot
Credit: Victor Protasio

The Top Chef finalist (who will compete on the show’s all-star season in March) and ownder of Pinch & Plate in Washington, D.C., celebrates the flavors of West Africa in this easy, crowd-pleasing meal

Eric Adjepong’s Grilled Shrimp with Spicy Jollof Rice

2 small red onions, roughly chopped (about 3 cups)
3 plum tomatoes (about 1 lb.), roughly chopped
3 medium-size red bell peppers, roughly chopped (about 3 cups)
2 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
1 (1-in.) piece fresh ginger, peeled and sliced
2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 1/2 tsp. curry powder
3 Tbsp. vegetable oil, divided
2 heaping Tbsp. tomato paste
2 1/4 tsp. kosher salt, divided
1 1/2 cups uncooked basmati rice, rinsed well
1 1/2 cups chicken stock
2 lbs. large raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/2 tsp. black pepper

1. Process onions, tomatoes, bell peppers, garlic, ginger, nutmeg, cayenne and curry powder in a blender until smooth, about 15 seconds. (You should have about 6 cups.)
2. Heat 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil in a large nonstick, oven-safe skillet or Dutch oven over medium high. Add tomato paste, and stir to combine. Stir in onion-tomato mixture. Cook, whisking occasionally, until reduced to about 1 1/2 cups, 35 to 40 minutes. Stir in 1 1/2 teaspoons of the salt.
3. Preheat oven to 350°. Add rice to tomato mixture, and stir to coat. Stir stock into mixture, and reduce heat to medium low. Simmer 3 minutes. Cover and transfer to preheated oven. Bake until liquid is absorbed, and rice is tender, about 25 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, heat a grill pan over medium high. Toss shrimp in a medium bowl with black pepper and remaining 1 tablespoon oil and 3/4 teaspoon salt. Add shrimp, in batches, to grill pan, and cook until opaque and charred, about 2 minutes per side. Fluff rice with a fork and serve with Shrimp.

Quick Tip! Got leftovers? “Jollof rice tastes even better once it’s had a day to allow those flavors to deepen,” says Adjepong. To reheat, combine the rice with a splash of water. Cover and bake at 300° for 20 minutes.

Serves: 4 to 6
Active time:
40 minutes
Total time:
1 hour 15 minutes