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Oct 15, 2013 03:01 PM

added frozen shrimp as recipe said...and they became mushy: ideas ?

I made a delicious fish chowder in my slow cooker yesterday. The recipe stated to add frozen uncooked shrimp (without thawing) in the last 30 minutes before serving. However, the only disappointing thing about the outcome was the shrimp became mushy and a strange texture.

Should I have thawed the shrimp despite what the recipe said? I had never experienced that before since I usually thaw frozen shrimp to saute for a sauce, curry or stir fry.

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  1. It may be that you should saute the shrimp as you indicate you usually do, and add them just before serving the fish chowder.

    Sometimes cooking instructions are just plain wrong. For example, I used commercial pie dough to make a chicken pot pie. The instructions suggested to apply aluminum foil around the perimeter of the pie dish to prevent the crust from burning 10 minutes before the cooking period is done. Are they crazy? How does one do that with a hot pie crust and hot pie dish? I start baking the pie with the aluminum foil and remove it the foil 10 minutes before it is done. That way I do not get burned. It works!

    4 Replies
    1. re: ChiliDude

      LOL, very funny ChiliDude. You are so right. Recipes instructions don't always make sense. You can tell which ones have actually been tried in a test kitchen.
      I should have known better. I followed a recipe from a food blog so it wasn't an actual recipe book.

      Next time I will thaw first or saute and then add. Thanks for the comment.

      1. re: foodcompletesme

        I found the brine most frozen shrimp are frozen in to be an unpleasant fishy flavor, and to change the flavor of the dish. I now thaw the shrimp and discard the liquid that comes off of them. The dishes taste much less fishy.
        Not quite your question, just my 2 cents worth on the subject of frozen shrimp.

        1. re: foodcompletesme

          My pleasure...glad that my suggestion may be helpful. My wife and I enjoy shrimp scampi, and she has been buying frozen shrimp with which to make the scampi. The shrimp quickly saute to pink without becoming mushy.

          1. re: ChiliDude

            Yes, we enjoy shrimp scampi too and it always pinks up quickly in a hot oven with butter and garlic. This was a totally different experience due to a new recipe and the slow cooker. I'll know better next time -- thaw the shrimp!

      2. Shrimp should have been added less than five minutes before finishing, whether frozen or not. They were WAY overcooked.

        1. Over cooking the shrimp usually makes them tough not mushy. I think that because you put them in the slow cooker, they weren't completely cooked when you served it because you put icy frozen shrimp into a hot soup. For the shrimp to cook properly, it would have had to come up to the same temp as the chowder then cook. In a slow cooker, I don't think 30 minutes was enough time.

          10 Replies
          1. re: Cherylptw

            I agree with you Cherylptw. Of course, it had to essentially thaw the shrimp and then bring it to temp. First time recipe mistake...won't happen again.
            Plus I was afraid to crack my new Kitchen Aid slow cooker by adding frozen shrimp to steaming hot chowder. Would have been a sad maiden voyage for my new slow cooker : (

              1. re: Cherylptw

                Five minutes is tops in my kitchen: but I always thaw before cooking, now I know there's a difference. I never had heard of adding it frozen before, my revised advice is, always add thawed. THEN cook five minutes ;-)

                1. re: coll

                  Yeah, I always make sure to fully thaw them, and blot them so they and the dish aren't waterlogged, then add just before the dish is done, long enough to curl, become pink and opaque.

                  Otherwise, they're overdone and rubbery, or meaiy and mushy.

                  1. re: mcf

                    You just reminded me: most important rule, never buy shrimp that have Sodium Tri Phosphate as an ingredient, or the shrimp will have as much water added as there is meat. That might be the problem too.

                    1. re: coll

                      I avoid that, too. Good advice.

                    2. re: mcf

                      Agreed. When I'm "just" cooking shrimp, I bring the water to a boil, add shrimp, cover, remove from heat. Usually done in about four minutes depending on size. See no rationale for it being any different in a soup.

                    3. re: coll

                      I agree, it don't take but a few minutes to cook shrimp once added to a pot of soup, but in this case, the OP was using a slow cooker. Cooking times differ in this case, especially since the shrimp was frozen. Adding that shrimp to the slow cooker frozen would have taken more than five minutes just to thaw it out, much less bring it up to the same temp as the soup then cooking the shrimp.

                      1. re: Cherylptw

                        Oh I know, I saw that, but since I seldom slow cook, I didn't think my answer through. When I think slow cooker, I consider things that have to cook a long time. Shrimp isn't the first thing I would imagine! Not a match made in heaven.

                        I think someone else may have mentioned this, but I would cook the shrimp separately and pour the soup over them in the bowl before serving. Just thinking outside the box!

                        1. re: coll

                          I would cook shrimp in the slow cooker but I would have thawed & really drained the shrimp well first and given it at least 30 minutes, if not more. I've made shrimp gumbo in the slow cooker and it didn't over cook or turn out mushy but my shrimp weren't frozen and I hiked up the temp on the slow cooker to high at the end just to cook the shrimp. It took about 12 minutes.

                  2. The frozen shrimp also had much more moisture than a thawed shrimp would have, the "mushy" could have been because they were waterlogged and the excess liquid didn't evaporate like it does when you sautee them.

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