Friday, March 21, 2014

Shrimp and Corn Chowder

Soups may be my favorite thing to make in the kitchen.  With any recipe, changing the quantity of an ingredient or incorporating something new all together can add a new dimension of flavor or change a dish completely.  I love to compare and combine different recipes and then make notes of what I liked or didn't like so I can make changes for the next time I try making it.  Some of my recipes are covered in little scribbles and notes.  This method of changing ingredients in and out works particularly well for soup recipes because they're so forgiving.

This soup is loaded with veggies and in the end it's thick... like... a chowder (as if the name and first photo didn't already give you that hint.)  I love corn chowder anyway, but the addition of shrimp to this recipe made me like it even more.  The sweetness of the corn pairs so well with shrimp and I like that the little pieces of shrimp add more texture to the soup.

Someone in my house doesn't like celery.  (Hint: there's only two of us and it's not me.)  Doug nicely asked me if we could leave the celery out of this recipe.  I nicely told him heck no.  But we did compromise.  If you have a picky eater, try this: 

I briefly cooked the celery by itself in the bacon fat and then transferred it to a cheesecloth pouch which I tied off and set aside.  I continued following the recipe and then threw the celery pouch back into the soup at the same time as the spices and liquids.  When it was time to puree a third of the soup in the blender, I unwrapped the cheesecloth and pureed all of the celery so there were no celery bits in the soup.  In the end, both of us were happy. 

(I probably don't need to say it, but don't put the cheesecloth in the blender.  Yes, it has the word cheese in the name, but it is not, in fact, something you actually want to eat.)

Shrimp and Corn Chowder
Serves 6
  • 4 slices thick cut bacon - diced
  • 3 stalks celery - diced
  • 3 large carrots - diced
  • 1 red bell pepper - diced
  • 4 cups potatoes - diced
  • 2 bunches scallions - thinly sliced
  • 4 cups corn
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 3 sprigs thyme
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon red chile flakes
  • 1 pint heavy cream
  • 1 pint 1% milk
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined - chopped (save 6 whole shrimp for garnish)

In a large Dutch oven, cook your bacon.  Stir in celery, carrots, bell pepper, potatoes.  Cook over medium heat for 10 minutes.  Add the scallions and corn.  Season with salt and pepper.  Cook for another 5 minutes. 

Add the flour and paprika.  Stir until incorporated.  Add the thyme, bay leaves, chiles, heavy cream, milk and stock.  Cover and bring pot to a boil.  Uncover and simmer until the potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes.  Remove from heat and discard the thyme and bay leaves.

Transfer 1/3 of the soup to a blender and puree until smooth, then return it to the pot.  Stir in the chopped shrimp and cook until opaque, about 4 minutes.  Season with salt.  (If the soup is too thick, stir in additional stock.)

Divide among bowls and top each bowl with a whole shrimp and a sprinkle of paprika.


  1. this sounds wonderful. Can't wait to make some.

  2. I am stealing this recipe! I made a potato and corn chowder (the only meat being bacon) for one of the bills games this year but this may have to replace it for the upcoming tailgate season! PS Doug needs to get over his food aversions! It would make your life a lot easier, oh the things we do for love.

    1. Where I used to omit 'objectionable' ingredients, I think Doug hears a lot of "But it's for the blog!" now when it comes to those horrid onions and mushrooms. This blogging project was exactly what I needed! ;)

      This is a perfect recipe for a Bill's game!! You could just reheat it there in a crockpot and it's really filling. Man, I love soups.

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