Saturday, January 18, 2014

Smoky Shrimp and Roasted Corn Chowder

Okay, just make this.  Make it right away!  This is probably my favorite thing I've made in a long time.. I ate it all.  I ate it for dinner.  I ate it for lunch.  I ate it as a snack.  It's gone!!!!!

Yield:  4-6 servings 

  • 4 large ears fresh corn (sub frozen corn if you can't get fresh due to the season)
  • 3/4 pound raw shrimp, peeled and deveined, shells reserved
  • 4 cups chicken broth or stock (or shrimp stock, if you can get it)
  • 8 slices smoked bacon, diced into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (or to taste)
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 pound peeled potatoes, cut into bite sized cubes
  • 1 cup cream
  • 1 teaspoon white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Bring the chicken broth and shrimp shells to a boil in a large pot.  Simmer for about 20 minutes to bring out the shrimp flavor in the broth.  Strain and discard the shrimp shells, turn heat to low. 
While the broth is cooking, cook the bacon until crisp, the remove to drain on paper towels.  Using the bacon grease, heat the pan to medium-high and add the corn (removed from the cobs).  Roast the corn in the pan until most of the kernels have charred a bit, about 10 minutes, then add the corn to the reserved broth.  Next, gently saute the shrimp in the remaining bacon grease until they begin to turn pink - this will take just about 5 minutes, be careful not to overcook or your shrimp will be tough!  They will be going into the hot soup and cooking a bit more, so it is better to slightly undercook them.  Remove and set aside.
Next, add the remaining vegetables to the same pan and cook until softened.  Add the flour last, mixing it into the vegetables.  Season the mixture with salt and pepper, then add the vegetable flour mixture to the broth and stir to combine.
Add potatoes, paprika, thyme, and cayenne pepper to the pot and cook on medium about 20 more minutes, or until potatoes are soft.  Add the cream, lemon juice, and sugar (I found it balanced the heat of the paprika well).  Season to taste.
Serve the soup warm, with the crisp bacon lardons as a garnish, and don't forget toasted crusty bread for dipping.  Yum!  Enjoy!

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