Ale Poached Shrimp in Saffron Cream Sauce

Shrimp in cream sauce

I finally broke down and paid $10 for a pinch of saffron at the market. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had it in my hand and wondered if the cost really justified the flavor. Would it really add that much of a difference to my recipe? When I saw this Ale Poached Shrimp in Saffron Cream Sauce recipe over at Food and Wine, I knew it was time to break the bank and give it try. Just like the $600 I spent on Rolling Stones Tickets, let me say this, it was worth every single penny.

Saffron Cream Sauce

This is one of those very special recipes. Every bite was a treat. The cream sauce is simmered and reduced using chicken broth and saffron. The end result is rich, savory and elegant. Wonderful to be exact. Dragging each shrimp and each bite of asparagus through the silky cream leads to a delightful pairing of flavors. The recipe indicates to pour the cream sauce through a sieve before serving. I didn’t do that and we didn’t notice anything but good.

Shrimp poached in Leffe Blo

The shrimp is simply poached in  Belgium Leffe Blond Ale. This ale is stunning in color and fresh and fruity in flavor, adding a nice zing to the shrimp. Opening another bottle while the meal was cooking, we sipped. Both of us thought it was one of the best beers we’ve ever had. Here’s a description from Leffe’s website:

 While this is a perfect aperitif beer, it also tastes delicious with a wide variety of dishes, especially red meat, sweet and sour dishes and white mould cheese, such as Camenbert, Brie, Brillat-Savarin or Saint-Marcellin. There are countless soft-centred cheeses that are a good match for the fresh and fruity Leffe Blond. Leffe Blond contains 6.6% alcohol and is best served at 5-6°C in a beer chalice, which will allow all the flavours to come through.

Back to the meal, we loved every special bite. You may want to consider this one for Valentine’s Day.

Ale Poached Shrimp in Saffron Cream Sauce
Serves: 4
  • 1 T. unsalted butter
  • 1 T. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 green onions, white and light green parts only, thinly sliced
  • 2 C. heavy cream
  • 2 C. Chicken Broth
  • Pinch of saffron threads
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Two 12-ounce bottles Belgian-style blond ale, such as Leffe
  • 1¼ pounds shelled and deveined large shrimp, tails left on
  • 1 pound thick asparagus—woody ends trimmed, tips halved lengthwise and stalks thinly sliced crosswise
  1. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter in the extra-virgin olive oil. Add the green onions and cook over moderate heat until softened, about 2 minutes. Add the heavy cream, chicken stock and saffron and bring just to a boil. Simmer over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is reduced to 1¾ cups, about 15 minutes. Strain the sauce through a fine sieve into a small saucepan and season with salt and pepper. Keep the saffron sauce warm over low heat, stirring occasionally.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large, deep saucepan, bring the ale just to a simmer. Add the shrimp and poach over moderate heat until they are just cooked through, about 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the shrimp to a plate, pat dry and season with salt and pepper.
  3. In a medium saucepan of salted boiling water, blanch the asparagus pieces until they are crisp-tender, about 2 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the asparagus to paper towels to drain.
  4. Spoon the saffron sauce into shallow bowls, top with the blanched asparagus and poached shrimp and serve.

Ale Poached Shrimp in Saffron Cream Sauce…It’s what’s for a Special Dinner.

On this day..

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  1. says

    I found some cheap small jars at TJ Maxx (my store!). We had some delicious saffron cream sauce with chicken at a recent cooking class (that I hope to post about soon). This looks delicious and well worth the cost. Sometimes the best things in life are worth it!
    Debra recently posted…Peperoncini Pepper DipMy Profile

  2. Alison says

    Stumbled onto this great site via a google search, and just realized you are in the building next to mine. Mind… blown…

    Sometimes the ‘net is a small world after all. Can’t wait to try this recipe

  3. says

    Such a beautiful and delicious post! The photos and your description made my mouth water. I always add beer to my boil, but not just straight beer – did you add anything to it? I am so going to do this next time I make shrimp. As for saffron (me precious) I buy beautiful little jars of it at TJMaxx when it shows up in their gourmet section. LOVE what it does to a cream sauce or risotto. This sounds like such a special meal!
    Vickie recently posted…Grilled Shrimp on Fennel and ArugulaMy Profile

    • says

      Risotto and saffron is next up on my list. I’ve heard that TJ Maxx sells it. I really need to go in there more often. It’s silly that I don’t, we have one so close. It’s just that the parking lot is hell! No, I didn’t add anything to the beer.

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