Voodoo Shrimp Cocktail

By AJ Dronkers, Edible DC. Recipe from Chef Executive chef Joseph Learner of the Marriott Renaissance Dupont Circle Hotel


We dined recently at the Renaissance Dupont Circle Hotel for their Navigator Table event series - a partnership with noted TV personality, Andrew Zimmern. Executive Chef Joseph Learner hails from the Carolinas and shows off those southern roots with his in-house smoked meats program. But but I was really blown away by his Voodoo Shrimp. It was a fun riff on your typical shrimp cocktail recipe and it is served with a horseradish panna cotta and with a signature voodoo cocktail sauce. Of course I asked if Chef Joseph would share it with our followers for a delicious new twist on a classic holiday appetizer. 

Voodoo Shrimp Cocktail

Yield 8 servings

Horseradish Panna Cotta  

•  1 cup sour cream 

•  3 tablespoons Dijon mustard

•  2 tablespoons prepared horseradish

•  ½ teaspoon kosher salt 

•   1 3/4 cups half-and-half

•  2 teaspoon gelatin (from a .25-ounce package)

Place the gelatin in a small ramekin, add 3 tablespoons warm water and stir until completely dissolved.

In a medium pot add the half and half, Dijon mustard, prepared horseradish and salt. Bring to a simmer on med/low stirring constantly to avoid breaking the mixture. Shut off heat and add gelatin. Stir until completely combined.

In small to medium-sized glass ramekins, use a 3 ounce ladle to pour the mixture into the each ramekin. The ramekins will not be full. Refrigerate until set, at least 4 hours. The panna cottas can be kept refrigerated, covered with plastic wrap, up to 2 days. 

Voodoo Cocktail Sauce

•  ¼ cup Texas Pete Sriacha

•  ½ cup honey

•  1 cup diced hot-house tomato 

•  2 cloves garlic 

•   1 ounce butter (unsalted) 

•  2 teaspoon gelatin (from a .25-ounce package)

In small sauce pan place all ingredients in and simmer on medium heat for 15 minutes. With a Vitamix, magic bullet, ninja or other blender – puree until smooth. Place sauce in plastic container and in refrigerator to cool.

Poached Jumbo Shrimp

•  2 pounds medium-medium large shrimp, fresh and shell on

•  ½ gallon water

•  2 tablespoons Old Bay seasoning

•  1 tablespoon kosher salt

•  2 lemons juiced (throw lemon carcass in pot too)

•  1 small yellow onion, medium diced

•  2 celery stalks washed, medium diced

In large pot place water, old bay, salt , lemon juice and carcasses , onion and celery and bring to a boil. Add shrimp to boiling liquid for about 4 minutes until it is done. 

While shrimp is boiling get a separate container with ice and fill with water, this will be to rapid chill the shrimp from overcooking.

Once shrimp have turned pink and are done, strain them out of the pot and place them in the ice water to stop cooking. After shrimp have chilled, under running water, peel and devein shrimp but leave the tails on.

Assembly of Voodoo Shrimp Cocktail

Grab a ramekin with horseradish panna cotta and spoon 2 tablespoons of cocktail sauce in the middle, gently place 3 jumbo poached shrimp side by side in ramekin, tail up, and garnish with minced celery hearts or micro greens if available under the overhanging tails.