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Southwestern Chipotle Shrimp Cocktails

These shrimp cocktails are damn delicious and dangerous as far as summer foods go.

True story. I once made 2 lbs. of this recipe and had some friends over for lunch. I also made our fave Pollo Salsa Verde with Mexican rice for mains. While Mr. Hubby and I were pottering around in the kitchen, our two friends sat on the kitchen stools at our island and polished the whole lot off. No jokes.

When lunch was served, they were sure to mention that as lovely as my mains were they loved the appetizers the most.

Hmmmm.......I wonder why.

Thanks to the years we spent in Arizona we have gained a true appreciation for Southwestern flavors & authentic Mexican cuisine. We also love dried chiles in this aprt of the world with their complex smoky flavors v/s hot that comes from Asian chillies.

Southwestern & Mexican dried chiles like Guajillo, Anjo, Chipotle & Casabel are used less for their heat but the incredible smoky and rich flavor they impart. And they are absolutely magnificent with all kinds of meat and seafood.

My absolute favorite was of using dried ground chipotle is in these shrimp cocktails and we love these so much more to the mayo laden versions that is has become our summer staple. Needless to say, I've based these off the Mexican shrimp cocktails that are tomato juice based often found in mariscos or seafood restaurants all over Mexico. Versions that include a heavy dose of hot serrano chiles paired with a liberal dose Tequila is considered quite the cure for a hangover after a night of fun.

In this Southwestern inspired version, I've paired the smoky heat from the Chipotle comes with the fresh heat from a serrano chile in tomato juice loaded with finely chopped red onions, cilantro and fresh lime juice, not forgetting succulent & plump garlicky shrimp.

Whether scooped out of a bowl with stone ground tortilla chips in the backyard with swigs of Coronas or Dos Equis or turned into ideal picnic fare when served in small mason jars, carried in a cooler filled with ice for a day in the sand or at the park, one thing is sure: Summer just got a tad more sizzlin'!



Recipe for

Southwestern Chipotle Shrimp Cocktails

Serves 4

Shopping list

1-1/2 lbs. raw peeled shrimp (remove tails so it is easier to scoop and eat)

2 cloves peeled garlic

fresh cilantro leaves, to yield 1/2 cup chopped

Spanish red onion, to yield 1/2 cup finely chopped

3/4-1 tsp ground Chipotle Chile

3/4-1 tsp ground cumin

1 serrano or jalapeno chile

1 tsp sea salt

1/ tsp ground turmeric

3 tbsp. olive oil vegetable oil


1-1/4 cup tomato juice

juice of 2 limes

1 tsp sea salt

1/2-1 tsp Chipotle Chile powder (if you can handle more spice)

1 tsp hot sauce

1 tbsp. olive oil

Preparation: Preheat the oven to 400 deg. F.

Shrimp: Peel and devein and set aside.

Red onion: Cut and discard the ends of the onion and discard outer skin. Finely chop and set aside.

Garlic cloves: Grate using a Microplane zester.

Cilantro: Separate the stalks from the leaves. Finely chop the leaves and set aside.

Serrano chile: Halve lengthwise and set aside (do not chop)


Toss the shrimp with salt and olive oil Place them on a silicone sheet lined sheet pan and and spread them in 1 layer. Roast for 8 to10 minutes, just until pink and firm and cooked through.

Remove immediately to a stainless steel or Pyrex bowl. Add the chopped onions and cilantro and stir to combine.

In a separate, small mixing bowl, add the tomato juice, lime juice, cumin, Chipotle Chile powder, hot sauce, olive oil & salt. Whisk to combine. Pour the dressing into the shrimp and stir.

Place a plastic wrap over the bowl and chill in the refrigerator for about 1 hour minutes until completely chilled. Stir and taste and adjust seasonings.

Cook's Note: Chilling foods will dull flavors so make sure everything is robustly seasoned before placing in the refrigerator and definitely taste and adjust seasonings before serving.

Remove to a serving bowl and serve with stone ground tortilla chips.

Picnic Tip: Remove to small mason jars and carry in a cooler filled with ice and/or ice packs for a picnic. Carry the tortilla chips in a bag to go with along with extra limes if needed.



1 Comment

My goodness ! I'm loving this take on shrimp cocktail, Devaki ! I've been getting Venezuelan red shrimp this summer that are big, cleaned and frozen in 1-lb bags. What do you know about the shrimping industry in S. America ?

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