Thursday, October 13, 2011

Shrimp and Corn Chowder

Well, I guess I shouldn't have complained about our unseasonably warm temperatures, since they were immediately followed by rainstorms and general gloom.  Looking for the silver lining, we've been eating a lot of soup to warm us up a bit.  

This is a little bit lighter take on chowder; lower-fat cream cheese and milk take the place of heavy cream, and a big portion of veggies bulk things up for a more filling meal without adding calories or another pan to wash.  I used a leftover baked potato here, since I like the flavor and texture of them over boiled potatoes, but feel free to just dice a potato and toss it in to simmer before you add the shrimp and cream cheese.

Shrimp & Corn Chowder

What's in it:

4 slices of center-cut bacon, chopped
2 shallots or half of a medium onion, finely diced
1/2 one bell pepper, diced
2 carrots, peeled and diced
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
2 Tbsp flour
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp paprika
sprinkle of cayenne pepper
4 c chicken or vegetable stock
1 medium baked potato, skin removed and flesh lightly mashed
1 c frozen or fresh corn kernels
1/2 c milk
1/2 lb shrimp, shells & tails removed, roughly chopped
3 oz cream or neufchatel cheese
3 scallions, thinly sliced (optional)

How to make it:

Fry  the bacon in a Dutch oven or pot until brown, but not yet crispy.  Remove the bacon to some paper towels to drain and pour off all but a tablespoon of the bacon fat.  Add the shallot, bell pepper and carrot, stirring over medium heat, cooking until softened and just barely starting to brown, about 10 minutes.  Add the garlic and cook for another minute stirring occasionally.

Stir in the flour and spices, coating the vegetables and allowing the flour to cook for a minute or two.  Add the broth, scraping any bits from the bottom of the pot as you pour.  Add the baked potato and corn, stirring break up potato and combine, then add the milk.  Bring the chowder to a simmer, and let cook for a few minutes.  Add the shrimp and cook just until they turn pink and are cooked through, then stir in the cream cheese.  Season with salt and pepper and serve, sprinkling with scallions if desired.

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