Sunday Dinner: Hampton Plantation Shrimp Pilau

If you are from the eastern part of our beautiful state, you will know this recipe is pronounced “per-low,” and not as the spelling suggests. Whether you live from the sea to the mountains, you will like this dish because it is pretty basic to South Carolina cuisine.

Recently, I carried it to a church supper for my fellow Baptists to judge. Sitting across the table was our preacher, Bill, and his wife, Alice, and other friends. All agreed it was really good. One suggested that I should use it in The Courier, and they all quickly said, “Yes!”

This good recipe is from the cookbook “Kitchen Windows” published by Varnville First Baptist Church a while back, and I have used their recipes previously. The current one for Shrimp Pilau was contributed by Betty Thomas, a longtime member of Varnville First. Mrs. Thomas has died and her husband is in a residential facility.

Varnville First is 137 years old and is currently pastored by Rev. Tommy Kelly, who has served there since 1994. Rev. Brandon Corley is the youth pastor. Staff members Annette Tuten and Beth Terry assist in the worship services. The church has both an early (8:45 a.m.) service and another at 11:00, with Sunday school between the two. They have Awana, GAs, RAs and Mission Friends for young people, and Bible study for adults on Wednesday.

The church is part of the Allendale-Hampton Baptist Association, where Darrell Smith serves as director of missions.

We are glad to have this excellent recipe to share with you because it speaks of both our rice-growing and shrimp-catching heritage in the state. I’m not sure I should recommend this, because after eating it once at your table, your guests will want to return every week for … Sunday Dinner.

Hampton Plantation Shrimp Pilau

4 slices bacon
1 cup raw rice
3 tablespoons butter
½ cup celery, cut fine
2 tablespoons chopped bell pepper
2 cups raw shrimp, cleaned
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon flour
Salt and pepper to taste

Fry bacon until crisp. Save to use later.

Add bacon grease to water in which you will cook rice.

In another pot, melt the butter. Add the celery and bell pepper, and cook for a few minutes. Add shrimp (which have been sprinkled with Worcestershire sauce and dredged with flour). Stir and simmer until flour is cooked. Season with salt and pepper.

Now add the cooked rice and mix until rice is all “buttery and shrimpy.” Into this, stir the crisp bacon, crumbled. Serves six.

(Tip: You may want to add more butter.)

Have a recipe?