It is perfect for ANY family potluck or as an "add on" dish for a large holiday gathering.
You can put this together early in the day and bake it off at dinner time...it serves 8 hungry people.
1 1/2 cups UNcooked long grain rice
3 cups chicken broth
1 tablespoon butter
In a large sauce pan, melt the butter over medium heat and add the RAW rice. Stir and let the rice kernels toast in the butter for a couple minutes, then add 3 cups chicken broth. Stir, COVER and turn heat down super low and cook the rice for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, remove from heat and fluff with a fork. Keep covered and set aside.
Next, saute the following together:
1/2 cup butter (*don't freak out, see note below)
3 celery stalks chopped small
2 cloves of garlic minced
2 green onions sliced thinly
1 red bell pepper seeded and chopped small
2 cups of your favorite fresh veggies (broccoli? mushrooms?)
Saute, gently till tender, then take off the heat and set aside.
Next, peel, de-vein, wash and pat dry 1½ pounds of fresh shrimp (see note below about frozen shrimp).
In a bowl, mix the following until smooth:
(2) cans cream of shrimp soup (undiluted)
1 cup milk
2 cups shredded colby-jack cheese
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Mix the soup/milk/cheese/pepper until smooth, then gently stir in raw shrimp and cooked rice and cooked veggies.
Place mixture in greased 10 x 15 baking dish and sprinkle with bread crumbs (see bread crumb recipe below). Bake at 350 for 35-45 minutes or until hot and bubbly.
NOTE: It might sound like 1/2 cup butter is a lot, but remember that this recipe serves 8 (1 tablespoon per serving) and 1/2 cup of butter is necessary for the right sauce consistency.
NOTE: Make sure you use Colby-Jack cheese. Cheddar (only) is not a good choice here. Just make sure your choice of cheese is creamy when melted.
NOTE: If you can't find cream of shrimp soup, cream of celery soup would work well too.
NOTE: For the bread crumb topping, Just put a couple of tablespoons of butter in a fry pan along with 2 cups of bread crumbs (plus a 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt and a healthy pinch of black pepper and a pinch of cayenne pepper) and stir them until they get toasty brown, then sprinkle on the casserole before you bake it.
NOTE: If you are using fresh shrimp, ignore the following note, but if you are using frozen shrimp, it is extremely important that you thaw the shrimp in a colander overnight in the fridge (do not speed thaw in running water). It is unbelievable how much water will drain out of the frozen shrimp and that water will make your casserole SOUPY and SOGGY IF YOU SKIP THIS STEP. Let the shrimp thaw overnight, then the next day, rinse them and pat them dry. I usually use medium size shrimp for this recipe.