Friday, October 1, 2010
Shrimp and Corn Chowder
Last weekend Stan and I went to Florida for a friend’s wedding. When we left, Nashville was a balmy 95 degrees. When we got back four days later, the temperature had dropped by at least 20 degrees, and fall had officially arrived. And really, it’s about time. I was starting to have (more) serious concerns about global warming.
The cooler weather excites me for so many reasons. Sweaters, apple picking, pumpkin carving, changing leaves, sleeping with the windows open… I could go on and on. I seriously looove fall. And I really love fall food. You’re going to see a lot of apples and squash and fresh baked breads and hearty stews coming up in the next few months. I’ve got stacks of recipes waiting to be tried and shared with you.
Today’s recipe is sort of my transition from summer to fall. It’s a warm and comforting soup, perfect for crisp fall days and nights. At the same time it is light and fresh, a final culinary ode to summer. Plump shrimp and sweet corn are the stars of this healthy chowder. Chunks of fresh veggies add color and texture, while a little turkey bacon infuses the soup with subtle smoky flavor. This was good the night I made it, but I swear it made even better leftovers. The corn seemed sweeter and the broth seemed smokier. The second day of leftovers was best of all. Who knows if it would have gotten better after that. The chowder was just too good to last any longer.
Shrimp and Corn Chowder
Adapted from Secrets of a Skinny Chef via The Nest
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 slices nitrate-free turkey bacon, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
1⁄2 teaspoon garlic powder
1⁄4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1⁄4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 large or 3 medium russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 tsp. fine-grain sea salt (or 1/2 tsp. table salt)
2 cups fresh or frozen corn, defrosted if frozen
1⁄4 cup half-and-half
1 pound raw shrimp, peeled and de-veined, tails removed
In a large pot (I used my Dutch oven), heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the bacon, onion, celery, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, and black pepper. Cook until the onions and celery soften, about 5 to 6 minutes.
Add the potatoes, chicken broth, and salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until the potatoes are tender, about 15 to 20 minutes. When they are cooked, mash up some of the potatoes using a potato masher or the back of a wooden spoon. (The mashed potatoes will thicken the soup. Leave some of the potatoes chunky for texture.)
Add the corn, half-and-half, and shrimp. Simmer an additional 5 minutes, or until the shrimp is just cooked through. Be careful not to overcook the shrimp or it will turn rubbery. (If you are using pre-cooked shrimp, you will only need to simmer the soup for about a minute, until the shrimp are heated through.)
Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.
Serves 4 to 6.