My hubby was in the kitchen with me making this recipe, and with our teamwork, we were able to get this chowder made in about 45 minutes. That includes the time that it takes to make the stock. In the same way that Ina is obsessed with chicken for chicken stock, I am obsessed with saving shrimp shells to make shrimp stock. Every time we have shrimp, I toss the shells in a ziploc bag in the freezer. Then when I am ready to make something like this, I have plenty of shells to make extra stock. So now we have a few quarts of corn and shrimp stock in the freezer so that we can make this soup even quicker a few times over the Fall and Winter.
This is how it went in our kitchen. Hubby shelled the shrimp and dropped the shells into the stock pot along with shrimp shells that had been saved in the freezer. I was at the same time stripping corn kernels from the corn cobs and dropping the cobs in the stock. Speaking of corn, I live in the heart of corn country, and the corn that I was using for this chowder was phenomenal. The corn was so sweet and fresh that I had a hard time making myself not nibble on the raw kernels as I was making it. After the corn was finished, I chopped onions and potatoes, and that was really about it. One last thing, as a southern girl, I have a canister of bacon drippings in my kitchen. So of course when I made this recipe, I used bacon grease to saute the onions in. Olive oil is of course just fine to use.
So, here is the recipe, which was actually inspired by one of the chowders in Jasper White's, 50 Chowders.
Corn and Shrimp Chowder
2 pounds medium to large sized shrimp
6 cobs of good sweet corn
1 ½ tsp. sea salt
8 c. water
Remove and reserve the shells from the shrimp. Cut the kernels off of the corn cobs and reserve. In a large soup pot, place the salt, corn cobs, and shrimp shells. Cover with the water. Bring to a boil and then allow to simmer for 30 to 45 minutes, stirring occasionally and press down the shells and cobs to help them release their flavor. When the stock is finished, you will need to pour the stock through a sieve to remove the solids.
While the stock is boiling prep the following ingredients:
1 T. of bacon grease or olive oil
2 T. of butter
1 large onion cut in to large dice
1 ½ tsp. paprika (preferably Hungarian)
4 medium sized potatoes
½ to 1 c. heavy cream or half and half
When the stock is done, heat the oil and butter over medium heat in a medium size soup pot. Sauté the onions about 8-10 minutes or until opaque. Add the paprika and cook an additional minute. Now add the potatoes and corn kernels in the pot and sauté around for just a minute. Add the stock (if the stock doesn’t cover the veggies add water to make up the difference), and turn up the heat. Once the liquid has reached a boil reduce heat and allow to boil for 10-15 minutes, or until the potatoes are done. Remove the soup from the heat. Stir in the shrimp and allow them to sit in the hot soup for 5 minutes. They will cook from the residual heat without becoming overcooked. Once the shrimp are done, add the heavy cream or half and half, and enjoy!