Friday, January 1, 2016

Shrimp Chowder

This is a slightly richer tastier Shrimp Chowder than I had posted before...richer in that I add just a tidge of heavy cream the end for that smooth creamy mouth feel.  

At my house we like a  little heat so I use a full 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, if you aren't a fan of the heat dial it back to taste.  But a little really plays nice with the inherent sweetness of the shrimp.  

Which gets me to my next point...Shrimp.  I splurge for the jumbo 21-25/lb as they are that much sweeter and more tender than the smaller variety.  Do make sure you buy the whole shrimp not the already peeled and deveined variety.  You need the shells and end bits for making the hearty stock.  And in terms of stock...use the whole vegetable leaves, skins and all for maximum flavor.

Unusual for me I opt for Russet in this recipe.  They absorb flavor nicely but more importantly hold their shape not dissolve into the stock as they cook until tender to the bite.  Important reason to use...they are there for shape and texture not to make a pot of mashed potato soup.

Shrimp Chowder
  • Shells and end bits from 2 lbs large Shrimp
  • 6 c water
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1 T Old Bay Seasoning
  • 1 celery stalk - leaves included
  • 1 half included
  • 1 large carrot

  • 2 lbs peeled and deveined shrimp
  • 1/2 onion - minced
  • 4 cloves garlic - minced
  • 2 cups small diced potatoes
  • 3 strips bacon
  • 2 T butter
  • 2 T flour
  • 1/8-1/4 cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 t fresh ground black pepper
  • salt to taste
  • 2 T parsley
  • 1/2 c heavy cream
  • 6 cups shrimp stock

Clean and devein your shrimp.  Place clean shrimp in colander and refrigerate until needed.  

Place shells with tail and heads into a large pan with 6c water.  Add salt and Old Bay Seasoning.  Add vegetables cut to fit into pan.  Bring to boil then reduce heat to simmer and simmer covered for 10 minutes.  Remove from heat and let steep 15 minutes.  Pour stock through a fine meshed strainer and discard the solids.  Yield about 6 cups stock.

In large soup pan fry up bacon until crisp.  Reserve the fat.  Add pepper, butter, onion and garlic and sweat over moderate heat until translucent.  Add flour and stir until dissolved.  Add potatoes.  Add stock slowly and stir until smooth and begins to thicken.  Bring to boil then reduce to simmer. Simmer covered 20 minutes until the potatoes are soft.  Test for salt and add as needed.

Add Parsley and shrimp.  Stir and cook 5 minutes over low heat stirring occasionally.  Remove from heat and stir in cream until dissolved.   Do not add cream while on the flame as the cream could curdle if overheated.

Serve the Shrimp Chowder hot with a crusty loaf of bread and a nice wine that can stand up to the rich and spicy shrimp!

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