Tuesday, April 9, 2013

smokey corn & shrimp chowder

I love soup. It's so heart warming, and usually relatively simple to make. AND, it doesn't cost much to make a whole bunch. And this recipe has bacon, shrimp and corn. How could it not be amazing?
Any meal that begins with bacon is fine by me, and despite the fact that you add the bacon at the last moment in this recipe doesn't mean that the bacon-y flavor doesn't permeate throughout. That's because you use the bacon fat that renders to cook all your additional items in later.
Just like the bacon, you don't add the shrimp until the last minute. Cook it first in the bacon fat, but then remove and set aside until just before serving. That way it doesn't get too tough, and you get a nice sear on the outside.
Somehow I lost the image of the corn and onion and garlic cooking together, but there is a step between the shrimp and the image above. I'm sure you get the idea though. Just a simple saute. After you've added the stock and cream, corn and veggies, use an immersion blender to puree some of the corn. That's what makes it a chowder. I'll admit that I made a mistake here... I used Fat Free Half and Half (don't ask me how they make it, but they do) and you should ALWAYS use full fat cream and milk when cooking because then the broth is less likely to break. That's why the soup I photoed looks kind of strange. Still yummy, but not as pretty to look at. Finally, you add the shrimp and top the soup with the bacon. Yum.
Smokey Corn & Shrimp Chowder
1 lb peeled and deveined shrimp
4 slices bacon, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 15 oz. can whole kernel corn
1/2 medium onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tablespoon smoked paprika
2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/2 teaspoon basil
4 cups chicken stock
1 cup half and half
Salt and Pepper, to taste

Heat a stock pot over medium heat and add bacon. Cook bacon until cooked through and remove from pot and set aside. Add shrimp and cook in the bacon fat until no longer pink. Remove from heat and set aside. If needed, add additional oil to cook corn and onion in. Cook onion and corn until onion is soft. Add garlic and seasonings. Cook until garlic is fragrant. Turn heat to low and add chicken stock and cream. Bring to a simmer and taste. Add salt and pepper as needed. Using an immersion blend, pulse in the soup a few times to break up and puree about half of the corn. If you don't have an immersion blender, you can pour half the soup into a blender and puree that way. Add in shrimp and heat through. Top soup with bacon before serving. Enjoy!