“Brazilian Barbecue & Beyond.” By David Ponte, Jamie Barber and Lizzy Barber. Sterling Epicure. $24.95

They say you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but when it comes to “Brazilian Barbecue & Beyond,” I couldn’t resist.

My eye – and hands – were drawn to the hardcover book, bound in textured paper and covered with bright designs, and the photos of grilled meat, empadinhas and fruity cocktails inside. I fell in love with the book as I thumbed through the pages, stopping to drool over descriptions of meat so tender it falls from bones and vibrant street parties where friends feast on fish and rice and beans.

I haven’t been to Brazil and have limited experience with its cuisine, but this book transported me there and confirmed my desire to make it there someday.

Written by David Ponte, Jamie Barber and Lizzy Barber, “Brazilian Barbecue & Beyond” offers a tour of Brazilian cuisine, from a breakfast acai bowl to grilled hanger steak to caipirinha granitas. The book is broken up into easy-to-navigate sections, including Brazilian breakfasts, street food, barbecue and new-style classics.

Beyond the recipes, the book contains short descriptions of the vibrant Brazilian culture, menus and schedules to help plan street parties, and descriptions of ingredients not commonly used here. My only gripe – and it’s a little one – is that not every recipe included a photo. I find a photo to be especially helpful when I’m trying a dish I’ve never made before.


As I made my way through the book, I marked recipes for coconut oatmeal, sweet potato hash and mash with feta cheese and poached eggs, bahian-spiced eggplant and grilled sea bass in banana leaves. The sections chock full of recipes for sweet treats and refreshing cocktails kept me riveted for the longest.

There are so many things I’d never tried – linguica in cachaca (sausage in a liquor made from sugarcane juice), for example, or kibe (a Lebanese meatball via Brazil) – that have now found their way onto my list for future dinners.

I kept coming back to Sandra’s Shrimp Soup. With a fall chill in the air, soup sounded like a perfect fit. My only issue with the recipe is that it calls for king shrimp. I’ve never heard of king shrimp – king prawns, yes – and Google was no help. So I bought large shrimp and went with that. It worked well.

The soup itself came together easily, with a nice bit of spice from the cayenne (I used 1/4 teaspoon, plus a little more when cooking the whole shrimp). It was not as heavy as a traditional New England-style chowder, which was refreshing. I’ll make this soup again.


Serves 4


1 pound raw king shrimp

1-1/2 tablespoons butter

1 small onion, finely chopped

1 celery stalk, finely chopped

1 carrot, finely chopped

2 ounces white or cremini mushrooms, chopped


Sea salt

1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/3 cup dry white wine

Generous 3/4 cup heavy cream

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon finely chopped Italian parsley


Remove the shells from the shrimp, put the shells in a pan, and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes, then strain and set aside the liquid, discarding the shells.

Meanwhile, de-vein the shrimp and set 12 aside for the garnish. Chop the rest into small pieces. Cover with plastic wrap and chill.

Melt the butter in a large, heavy pan over medium heat, add the vegetables, and cook for 6 to 8 minutes, stirring frequently, until softened. Season with salt and cayenne pepper. Add the wine and let boil until reduced by half. Pour in the shrimp stock and bring to a simmer. Cook gently for 10 to 15 minutes, then add the heavy cream and bring back to a simmer. Finally, add the chopped shrimp and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, until just cooked through. Remove from heat.

Heat the oil in a skillet until hot and add the reserved whole shrimp. Season with salt and a little more cayenne pepper and fry for 2 to 3 minutes, tossing once or twice, until they turn pink and opaque and are just cooked through.

Ladle the shrimp soup into warmed bowls and garnish with the fried whole shrimp and a sprinkling of chopped parsley and a little cayenne pepper. Serve immediately.

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