Just about the time February is ending, we often get reminded that winter is hardly over, even though many of us were ready to bid it farewell a month ago. Never fear - your kitchen, with its warmth and comfort, is here to help. You don't even need to invest a lot of time or energy to get that little lift in your spirits. Behold, the power of chowder:
Isn't that grand? Isn't it wonderful how a bowl of comforting soup can make winter seem just a little nicer? Even if snow is blowing outside your door, if you've got this wonderfully smoky, sweet chowder brimming with tender shrimp and crispy bacon, it's easier to ignore that weather. And when it only takes about a half hour to get this bowl of comfort on the table, what do you have to lose? It's time to break out your stockpot and get to know this liquid warmth:
I highly recommend bread of some kind with this chowder. Whether it's freshly baked corn muffins, toasted baguettes, or a slice of your favorite loaf, warm bread makes for a lovely way to sop up all that lovely flavor and make sure it's all enjoyed. Then let the few dishes this meal makes soak and find a warm corner in your house to curl up with a blanket and your favorite book. Winter may be here for a while yet, but let that mean you have time to spoil yourself a bit before the change of season has us all busy again.
- 5 slices thick-cut bacon, cut into small pieces
- 8 oz. medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 2 c. chopped yellow onion
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tsp. smoked paprika
- ½ tsp. dried thyme
- Pinch crushed red pepper
- 2 c. frozen corn kernels
- 3 c. chicken stock
- 1 c. half and half
- Salt and pepper, to taste
In a large stockpot over medium heat, fry the bacon pieces until crispy. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towels; set aside.
Add the shrimp to the pot and cook until pink (about 3-4 minutes), stirring frequently. Remove the shrimp with a slotted spoon and add to the plate with the bacon.
Add the onions and garlic to the pot; sauté for about 5 minutes, or until the onions are soft and translucent. Add the smoked paprika, crushed red pepper, thyme, salt, and pepper; cook, stirring frequently, for 2 minutes. Add the corn and chicken stock; stir to combine. Bring to a boil; reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 15 minutes.
Add the half and half. Using an immersion blender, blend about half of the soup until creamy. If you don't have an immersion blender, blend 2 cups of soup in a blender and pulse until creamy and return to pot and stir well.
Serve with the shrimp and sprinkle with the bacon pieces.
- Yields: 4-6 servings
- Preparation Time: 30 minutes