Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Back to Bacon: Summer Corn and Shrimp Chowder with... Bacon!

Sorry for the extended hiatus- now that I've finally recovered from finals, hopefully I can get this blog going again! I actually did quite a bit of cooking during the finals-prep month, but after plowing through hundreds of pages of Federal Personal Income Tax and Property law, the thought of writing anything extracurricular was definitely beyond my capacities. But, that means that I have some good stories and recipes stored up, so here we go.

This chowder is one of my favorite soups to make at home, and also comes with a great set of vacation memories. I went to the Outer Banks in North Carolina last Memorial Day weekend and stayed at a fantastic hotel called The Sanderling, in the gorgeous and pristine Duck area of the Banks. As with any trip, I eagerly checked TripAdvisor and local websites for food and restaurant recommendations, and kept coming back to one repeated tip- "you MUST try the corn chowder at The Sanderling!" Obviously, I went to the hotel's restaurant on the first afternoon (my blood sugar was low, I needed soup!) and thankfully, the corn chowder lived up to its hype. Even better, there was a recipe posted online, so I made the chowder immediately upon returning to D.C. and have continued to do so all year.

The online recipe is not the best in terms of attention to detail- the first time I made this, I diced the requested red bell pepper and then realized it was still sitting on the counter when the soup was done, since there was no mention of when to add it in! So I've adapted it somewhat, as well as removed the crab meat option and doubled up on the shrimp. Nothing against crab meat, but I just prefer shrimp with all of these gorgeous summer vegetables.

  • 3 slices of bacon, small diced
  • 2 stalks of celery, small diced
  • 1 medium onion, small diced
  • 1 carrot, small diced
  • 1 small green pepper, small diced
  • 1 small red pepper, small diced
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 1 10 oz can of cream style corn
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 2 splashes Tabasco
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons flour
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 1 splash Worcestershire sauce
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ½ lb. small-size peeled and deveined shrimp (frozen work great here)

Heat a large saucepan or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add bacon pieces and cook until crispy. Add onions, celery, peppers, and carrots; cook about 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add butter and let melt. Add flour and stir well until all of the butter is absorbed by the flour. Add both types of corn, stock, cream, and seasonings. Mix well and allow chowder to simmer 20 minutes. Just before serving add shrimp and stir well; they will cook in about 2 minutes.