Sunday, January 9, 2011

Seafood Twist on an Old Favorite

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Yet another soup was created in our house last night, to no one's surprise at this point I'm sure! I've made a few chowder-based recipes featuring corn, squash, etc. and when I came across Jamie Oliver's recipe for a Shrimp & Corn Chowder it sounded like a welcome twist on some of our old favorites.

I love the way this soup isn't overly heavy and combines mostly chicken broth with a small amount of cream to flavor the soup's base. The soup uses leeks instead of onions, which provide a much more subtle flavor. However, when you use leeks, be sure to rinse them thoroughly. They are grown in a very sandy soil and have multiple layers, so dirt and grit can lurk in all the nooks and crannies. The best way to do this is to dice up the leeks, then soak them in cold water before finally rinsing them in a colander.

Also, if you would like to make this soup slightly lower in fat, you can saute the leeks and potatoes in olive oil instead of using the bacon drippings. We are a pro-bacon family around here, so I went for it, but the oil would work just as well.

Shrimp & Sweet Corn Chowder

- 1 leek
- 1 lb. potatoes (I used russet)
- 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- 6 slices of bacon
- 1 1/2 cups sweet corn (I thawed out frozen corn)
- 1 lb. shrimp (I used frozen pre-cooked shrimp, but raw can be used too)
- 1 1/2 cups heavy cream


Heat about a tbsp. of olive oil in a large dutch oven-style pan before adding the chopped slices of bacon. In a second saucepan, heat the chicken broth until just boiling. Keep it simmering on low.

2. Once the bacon is crispy, remove it from the pan, leaving the bacon drippings behind. Add the leeks and chopped potatoes to the pot and toss thoroughly to coat. Cook on medium for about 5-7 minutes until the leeks begin to soften.

3. Add the corn and hot broth to the pot, stirring well to combine. Turn the heat up to high and bring to a boil, then turn down the heat and simmer for 8 minutes. In the meantime, heat the cream up to about 100 degrees, just warmed and add it to the soup mixture.

4. Keep the soup simmering on medium-low for another 5 minutes, then add in the shrimp. If using raw shrimp, cook in the soup mixture for about 1o minutes - if using pre-cooked shrimp the way I did, just cook the shrimp in the soup for about 5 minutes until warmed through.

5. Use an immersion blender to puree the soup until still slightly chunky - you don't want it to be completely smooth. Season well with salt and pepper before serving.

Serve up the soup with a little of the crispy bacon on top - yum!

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