Sunday, October 23, 2011

Soup Sunday: Shrimp-Corn Chowder

We're finally back from our trip to the mountains. It was super cold, but a lot of fun! We went hiking, shopping, fishing, and ate a whole bunch (duh). But I'm glad to be back. So, it's back to posting recipes! Well, obviously it is Soup Sunday again, and this is by far my favorite soup recipe (like ever). If you have ever been to Atlanta (or plan on going in the future), then you have probably eaten at Taqueria del Sol. It is possibly the busiest taco stand downtown. Sometimes you'll have to wait 1-2 hours just to eat. It's absolutely delicious... I always order two fried chicken tacos with a shrimp-corn chowder on the side. And lemme tell you, this soup is heavenly. It is so thick and creamy that you just instantly melt as you sip it in. It's sweet, but spicy, which is my one achilles heal. And then you have chunks of sweet corn, fresh shrimp, and poblano peppers. The soup is just divine. So, I knew that I had to recreate it. And I actually succeeded. This soup was seriously amazing, and just like Taqueria's. I beg you to make this, just do it, please. It's just that good! Enjoy :)
Shrimp-Corn-Poblano Chowder with Cheddar-Bay Biscuits
For the Chowder:
4T Unsalted Butter
1-2 Poblano Peppers, Seeded & Diced
1-2 Jalapeno Peppers (leave whole if you want it more spicy)
1 Bell Pepper, Diced (red of yellow preferably)
3 Cloves of Garlic
1 Small Sweet Onion, Diced
3 Stalks of Celery, Chopped
1T Lobster Base
½t Chili Powder & Old Bay
¼t Cayenne, Paprika, & White Pepper
Freshly Grated Nutmeg (around 1/8t or a healthy pinch)
Salt & Pepper, To Taste
1/3C Sugar (you can use a little more if you want it sweeter)

1 15oz Creamed Corn
2C Sweet Corn, Charred in a Skillet (we love corn, so we started doubling it to 4C of corn)
2lbs Shrimp, Diced
8-16oz Lump Crab Meat (this is completely optional, but crab makes everything better)
1 Stick of Unsalted Butter, Melted
½C AP Flour (sometimes you might need 2-4T more to make it thicker)         
1Q Heavy Cream
1Q Half & Half
Seafood Stock, For Thinning (if needed, completely optional)
Handful of Chives, Minced

1. Preparing the Vegetables: Puree the poblano peppers, jalapeno peppers, bell pepper, cloves of garlic, diced onion, & celery in a food processor. Process until the veggies are finely chopped or minced (it should look like confetti). Drain out the excess liquid. Melt the 4T of butter in a large soup pot, and add in the vegetable puree. Saute for 3-5 minutes over medium heat or until they become tender and slightly translucent. When the vegetables have softened... add in the shrimp, crab, cream, half & half, seasonings, sugar, and lobster base. Let it simmer until the roux is ready. 
2. To Make the Roux: Begin making the roux by melting the one stick of butter in a saute pan over medium heat. Once the butter is hot enough and at a liquid state, add a pinch of flour to see if it is hot enough to start making the roux. If the flour bubbles, then it is ready. Whisk the flour into the melted butter until a thick, rough paste forms. Make sure to whisk constantly until no lumps of flour remain. It becomes smooth and thinned out some. Cook the roux until it reaches the white stage, it takes about 3-5 minutes. At this point, the roux should lose its raw, uncooked smell. Set it aside until you are ready to add it into your soup.
2. Making the Chowder: Bring the soup to a boil, and then reduce the heat to a simmer and add in the roux. Whisk vigorously until the roux is completely incorporated and no large roux lumps remain. Simmer until your desired thickness, roughly 15-20 minutes. Add in the creamed corn and charred/grilled/fresh corn (whatever your preference is, we like to grill our corn because it gives the soup a mild smoky flavor). Adjust the soup with salt, pepper, and sugar to your liking. If the soup has gotten too thick for your tastes, just add in some seafood stock to thin it out a bit. 
3. Serve the soup hot with a garnish of minced chives and have some warm Cheddar-Bay Biscuits on the side!

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