It’s only a matter of time once the hint of Fall teases me with cool afternoons that I start thinking of soup. I’m not partial to any kind of soup in particular as long as it’s warm and satisfying. Sometimes I long for a clear broth and others something silky and smooth. This time, I was in the mood for something chunky with a bit of richness — like clam chowder — except I didn’t have clams. Seafood chowder sounded excellent too, but I wasn’t sure the tilapia I had in the freezer would be the right kind of fish for that. No, I’d have to settle for the plump pieces of shrimp I had and the sweet corn and potatoes that needed to be used instead. I just needed to find a recipe that wouldn’t take up an afternoon to prepare.
I enjoy my recipe searches because in the process I compare and contrast general quantities of ingredients, consider the variety of spices used and admire an unusual spin here and there. It’s always nice to find a version that is healthy without taking away the satisfying aspect of the dish, too. Every once in a while, I find a recipe that stuns me. In my search for Shrimp and Corn Chowder, I found a recipe that seems to be making its rounds, finding it posted at several different sites. Serving six, it calls for one quart of half-and-half, one quart of heavy cream, and one-half cup of margerine. Seriously. I just about fell out of my chair wondering why on Earth it was necessary to put that much fat into a recipe that could easily do with much lighter ingredients and avoid classifying it as diet food.
Thankfully, I found a great recipe at Nook & Pantry, and although I didn’t follow it exactly as written, my version is not too far off. Shrimp & Corn Chowder anyone?
Shrimp & Corn Chowder
4 ears sweet corn, kernels removed
6 oz. bacon
1 lg. shallot, chopped
3 lg. cloves garlic, chopped
1/4 yellow bell pepper, diced
1 carrot, peeled and diced
2 celery ribs, trimmed and diced
3 T flour
1/4 tsp. hot paprika
2 dashes cayenne
4 c. good vegetable stock
2 c. milk, 2%
1 lb. fingerlings, cubed, peelings on
1 lb. lg. shrimp, shells & tails removed
- Cut the bacon into small pieces and fry in the bottom of a medium soup pot until brown, but not yet crispy.
- Remove the bacon to some paper towels to drain and pour off all but 1 T of the bacon fat.
- Add all the vegetables, stirring over medium heat, cooking until softened but not browned, about 8 minutes.
- Add the garlic and cook for another minute stirring occasionally.
- Stir in the flour and paprika, coating the vegetables with it and allowing it to cook for a minute or two.
- Add the vegetable broth, stirring any flour bits from the bottom of the pot as you pour.
- Add the milk, corn, and potatoes and cook until the potatoes are fork tender, about 25 minutes.
- Add the shrimp and cook just until they turn pink and are cooked through.
- Season with salt and pepper and serve.
- This is a hearty chowder with bits and chunks of vegetables or shrimp in every bite.
- The hot paprika is such a wonderful addition to this. A little bit goes a long way, but if you’re someone who isn’t fond of heat don’t worry. You’ll have just the slightest hint of warmth at the back of your throat and its quite pleasant. The pimenton picante or hot paprika I use is made by Chiquilin and is a product of Spain. If you can’t find it at your market, La Tienda is a great source for Spanish products like paprika and they sell quite a few varieties.
- This recipe makes enough for six good servings and since there are only three of us, we enjoyed it left over even though I worried about the texture of the shrimp with reheating. Reheat low and slow and the shrimp manages just fine.
- In case you’re wondering about the recipe I mentioned at the beginning of this post, just the heavy cream and half-and-half alone in that recipe racks up almost 6,000 calories of saturated fat. I’m still amazed!
- I’m thinking I’d like to put a southwest spin on this next time adding a few roasted poblanos and a bit of cilantro.