Monday, November 24, 2008

Shrimp and Corn Chowder

One thing I love about the winters is the opportunity to make homemade soups. I love standing over the stove and watching ingredients slowly come together, while filling the house with the warm scents of the season. The beauty of soups is that you can make them in large batches, freeze them and have dinner planned for the next few weeks. Just add a simple salad or sandwich to serve with it and you're set.
Today, I'm making shrimp and corn chowder. Nothing can beat sweet corn, heavy cream and shrimp. (okay, lobster can, but with Thanksgiving coming up, I don't want to break the bank).

To be honest, I like shrimp, but I certainly don't love it. In restaurants, I find it either overcooked or waterlogged with no flavor. So for my chowder, I decided to make a corn broth, instead of a shrimp broth.

To get started I combine corn cobs, a bay leaf, thyme, mirepoix and cold water. I bring it up to a boil and let it simmer until I can really smell a sweet corn aroma. Meanwhile, I combine the corn kernels with heavy cream and simmer that until they have infused each other. I'm generous with kosher salt and pepper. I take my hand blender and buzz the corn and cream mixture and then strain the stock.
Next step, I saute some bacon with carrots, onions and celery until they soften and then add the strained broth and heavy cream mixture. I buzz that up, add more salt and pepper and taste. It's already sweet and the thickness is wonderful. It beautifully coats the back of a spoon.
I then add peeled and diced potatoes to the chowder and let them cook until fork tender. Last but not least, I add more corn kernels to enhance the texture and finally, chopped shrimp. I keep the chunks of the shrimp large so you know what you're eating.

Some chopped chives are an ideal garnish and to add some richness, a dollop of sour cream or creme fraiche hits the spot.

This is a very rich chowder, so I'd prefer a salad than a heavy sandwich. I throw together a quick salad of arugula, goat cheese, dried cherries, and pistachios. A wonderfully warm, comforting meal on a cold Boston night.


Anonymous said...

You got some good lovin' in that pot. Spoons in hand now!

Meg said...

This looks absolutely delicious!

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