What makes a chowder a chowder, and not just a fish soup? The name comes from the French word chaudiere, a three-legged cauldron. When ships returned from the sea, every village had a large chaudiere waiting at the dock; each fisherman added a portion of his catch, big pieces of fish cleaned and cut right on the boat, to be served later as a communal meal. It's a shame that most of us no longer get our fish directly from the docks, and that we make chowder in our own kitchens instead of a communal pot. While our way of life has changed, the basic chowder remains the same: a fish-based soup, thick with big chunks of fish or shellfish. This shrimp, corn and bacon chowder gets a double whammy of smoky flavor from pimentón (smoked paprika) and the bacon. I call it a pantry chowder, because I always have shrimp and corn in the freezer, and a combination of clam and chicken broths from the pantry makes a fine substitute for fresh fish stock.
Smoky shrimp, corn and bacon chowder
6 oz sliced bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 medium Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and diced
1/2 tsp smoked paprika (sweet or hot)
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
10 oz frozen corn
8 oz clam broth
2 cups chicken broth (homemade or low-sodium store-bought)
1/2 cup half-and-half
1/2 cup skim (nonfat) milk
8 oz medium (26-30 size) shrimp, peeled and deveined (defrosted if frozen)
Kosher salt and fresh black pepper, to taste
2 Tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley
In a Dutch oven or large sauce pan, cook the bacon over low heat until it's crisp, but not burned. Transfer to a paper-towel lined plate. Pour off all but 2 teaspoons of the bacon drippings.
Add the onion to the pot and cook, stirring frequently, until soft but not yet brown.
Add the garlic, paprika and cayenne, and cook for 2 minutes. Stir in the potato, and mix well to coat the potatoes with the seasoning. Stir in the corn, clam broth, chicken broth, half-and-half and milk. Raise heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes, until the potatoes are tender when pierced with a knife.
Reduce heat to low, and add the shrimp. Cook for 3-4 minutes, until the shrimp are pink and curled. Stir in the parsley and the reserved bacon. Taste the soup, and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper, if needed.
Other recipes that use these pantry ingredients:
Smoky bacon and cheddar shrimp and grits, from Girl Cooks World
Devils on Horseback (bacon wrapped shrimp), from Noble Pig
Bacon wrapped shrimp with bourbon sauce, from Eclectic Recipes
Shrimp, potato and fennel chowder, from Cookin' Canuck
Shrimp and corn chowder, from Sass & Veracity
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