This chowder is so delicious, and kind of like summers answer to a clam chowder. I was trying to think about what to do with all of the corn that is starting to flood the markets, and combined with the fresh Gulf Prawns I have been seeing (which everyone should be buying right now!!!!) this was the perfect solution. It doesn’t hurt to have a nice comforting chowder in this continuously bad weather we are having in the Northwest, but I suspect that I would have enjoyed this chowder no matter what the weather was!
Feel free to adjust the level of spiciness by adding an additional jalapeno, or by letting each guest adjust their own level with hot sauce. I also recommend serving the chowder with the garnishes listed at the bottom, especially the bacon, which adds a wonderful salty, crispy texture to the chowder. I also served it with chive bread on the side, (see Tuesday June 29th for the recipe)- which is amazing for dunking!
Corn and Shrimp Chowder with Cilantro Oil, (serves 8-10)
8 oz bacon
2 lbs shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 Tbs butter
1 large onion, chopped
2 ½ cups celery, chopped
2 cups carrots
2 bell peppers (red, yellow or orange), chopped
2 cups white wine
1-2 jalapeno peppers, minced (depending on how hot you want it)
7 cups fresh corn kernels or 4 bags of frozen corn kernels
8 cups chicken stock
1 cup whipping cream
Kosher Salt and Pepper
In a large heavy soup pot, cook the bacon over medium heat until the bacon is crispy and the fat is all rendered.
Remove the bacon and set it aside for later, (refrigerate if it will be a while). Keep the bacon fat in the pot over medium heat.
Rinse the shrimp and pat dry. Add the shrimp to the bacon fat and cook them, turning often until they are barely opaque in the center. It is ok if the shrimp are under cooked as they will be added back to the soup later. When the shrimp are done, remove them from the pot. Roughly chop the shrimp (like in about 4 pieces each), and place in an airtight container in the refrigerator until you are ready to put it back in the soup.
Add the butter to the pot and when it melts, add the onions, celery, carrots and bell peppers and stir to coat the vegetables with the butter. When the vegetables have been cooking for about 5 minutes they should be getting soft and tender. Add the white wine, and stir.
Add the corn kernels and the jalapeno pepper to the pot and stir to combine. Add the chicken stock. Simmer with the lid on and the heat on low for about 30 minutes. When you remove the lid, let the soup cool. With an immersion blender, puree the soup until about 2/3 of the soup is pureed and there are still chunks of vegetables.
At this point I like to add the cream and put shrimp back in. Stir the soup well to incorporate the cream and refrigerate until ready to use. Best for several hours to over night.
Gently heat the soup until it is hot, and then season with salt and pepper. (It is best to wait until the very end to season to account for reduction, and the flavors melding.)
Ladle the soup into bowl and serve with garnishes.
Crispy (reserved) Bacon, chopped
Green onions, chopped
Cilantro Oil, (makes about 1 cup)
1 cup fresh cilantro
1/3 cup vegetable oil
½ tsp salt
Tiny squeeze of lime or lemon juice
Puree in a blender until very smooth and bright grassy green. Refrigerate in an airtight container until ready to use.