My adventures in pregnancy, motherhood and beyond

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Monday, August 20, 2012

Smoky Corn Chowder

Smoky Chowder
Soup. Mmmm. I LOVE soup. Especially chowder. I've never actually had the guts to make a chowder before, but I found a recipe via Pinterest that was looked too good to pass up.

We used this recipe from Bev Cooks. It looked so good.

We did some things differently, and it probably made it taste a bit differently. Instead of using fresh shrimp, we used frozen shrimp from Fresh and Easy. It's not James' favourite thing, seafood snob that he is, but it's better than having to devein and deshell the supposedly "fresh" shrimp from the meat counter. And, no, if they're real shrimp (not prawns), they've been frozen in order to be transported. (See what you learn when you marry a seafood snob?) We also chopped up the shrimp to mix into the soup instead of searing them and putting them on top. And, what can I say, we're super lazy, so we used bacon bits isntead of cooking out own bacon. This one actually has a real reason--buying a pack of bacon and only using 2-3 strips means the rest generally goes to waste, so it's better for our purposes to use the bits.

We followed the other instructions pretty much word for word. I didn't notice the differences between her version and the Real Simple version, but I just skipped the steps cooking the bacon and shrimp. Instead, I just added some oil to the pot (and I could have used a much smaller pot.) I sauteed the minced up yellow onion for 5 minutes. Since the recipe only calls for half a yellow onion, I saved the other half and froze it to use later. This is going to become a habit, I think. When I need things I don't usually use and have to buy too much, I'll freeze the rest and save it to use later.

Onions and spices sautéing. Note the steam
After the onion was done sautéing (mind you, mincing the onion in the food processor is easy and makes the texture nicer, but does add a lot of liquid, which makes it harder to sauté the way I'd hope to), I added the paprika, the garlic, salt, pepper and crushed red pepper, sautéing it for another minute or so. The paprika seems to soak up the extra liquid. James cut off the corn kernels from the cob, and I added them to the mixture, sautéing for another minute or two. Instead of using chicken stock, I used the reduced sodium chicken broth, and we used half and half instead of cream to keep it a (little) healthier. After tasting it, I realized it did need some more salt and pepper.

Add the corn and mix well
It took forever to get it up to a simmer, but I did manage to get it there finally. Of course, I had to bring it to a boil first. Either way, it took a lot longer than the recommended 15 minutes, but I figured heating it up and cooking it could only add to the flavour in the long run. This is also were a smaller pot would have been handy, since our stove is horrible, and the larger pots only boil in the very center. I used the immersion blender to blend most of the chunks out (another small pot is better instance, since it was very shallow and splattered.) I'd say I blended a little more than half, but didn't pulse it completely smooth. I added some bacon bits and the half pound of cut up shrimp and allowed the soup to heat through for another minute or two.

Cream and broth added
James didn't want anything other than some parmesan on his soup. I added some extra bacon, extra crushed red pepper and parmesan on mine. It was creamy, but not really smooth--the blended chunky parts kinda stood out from liquid parts, but it was still absolutely delicious. I loved how despite it being hot and a bit spicy from the peppers, it was still light and refreshing. It was the perfect summer soup. The recipe made enough for 4 servings, and since I had seconds, we have one serving left over for lunch one day. I think it should reheat just fine, and I'd love to see what it tastes like with a bit of hot sauce added in. (Ok, yes I'm completely obsessed with that hot sauce, but it's just SO good! On everything!) This recipe would also be very easy to adapt to vegetarian; just leave out the bacon and shrimp and use vegetable stock instead of chicken stock. This is definitely going to become one of our staples. The more soup recipes in my cooking arsenal, the happier I'll be :) (I really do LOVE soup). So, go out and make yourself some corn chowder!! It's so good! You won't regret it.
And the finished product!

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