Spicy Shrimp Chowder
7 cups homemade or canned vegetable broth (If I don’t have homemade, I use the Better Than Bouillon concentrated base)
1 pound medium shrimp, peeled, deveined, shells reserved (I cut the shrimp in half)
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, diced
3 medium carrots, peeled & diced
3 ribs celery, diced
2 cloves minced garlic
1/2 to 1 finely minced jalapeno, or to taste
1 tablespoon ground coriander (can be omitted if you don’t have it)
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 tsp. cayenne (or substitute a few dashes of hot sauce)
Salt (sea or kosher) & freshly ground black pepper (hold off a bit on the salt if you are using a commercial broth)
2 medium baking potatoes, peeled & diced fairly small
5 plum tomatoes diced (in the winter I use grape or cherry tomatoes, cut in halves or quarters)
1 10 oz. package frozen corn, or 1 11 oz. can, drained
1 cup cream or half-and-half (I use fat-free half-and half)
Chopped cilantro for garnish
1. Heat broth to simmer in a large saucepan. Add shrimp shells (reserve shrimp in fridge); simmer 10-15 minutes.
2. Heat olive oil in a large soup pot; add onion, carrots, celery, jalapeno and garlic; sauté until onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. (You want your vegetables in about a medium dice, not too big.) Add vegetable broth, coriander, cumin, salt and pepper and heat to a boil. Add potatoes, tomatoes and corn. Reduce to a slow simmer and cook until vegetables are tender, 15-20 minutes. Remove from heat, allow to cool slightly.
3. Transfer a third of the vegetables to a food processor or blender, puree. (I just leave it in the pot and use an immersion blender for 10-15 seconds. Leave most of it slightly chunky; you want some texture.) Return puree to pan, add half-and-half and shrimp. Cook over low heat until the shrimp just turn pink, about 1 minute. Do not boil or shrimp will turn tough.
Garnish with cilantro. Serve in the biggest, prettiest bowls you have.
Yields 10 main-course servings. (The original calorie count from the paper has a serving at only 175 calories, and that is using cream, so using the fat-free half-and-half makes it come in at even less! Or use half 1/2 & 1/2 and a bit of real cream, whatever.)
I got the original recipe from the Chicago Tribune about 7 years ago, and have adapted it a bit over the years to this version. I serve it with a pinot grigio (a sauvignon blanc would go well too) and some good crusty bread.
Dang, Peg, that sounds delicious. Thanks.