Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Corn Chowder with Shrimp by Tom

Corn Chowder with Shrimp by Tom
In an earlier blog entry about salsa verde and salsa fresca that I had made for guests from Syracuse, I talked about the jalapeno and garden salsa pepper plants that we have growing at our lake house.  Well, doing what pepper plants do, they churned out a bunch more peppers.  So now what do with more hot peppers!

Looking through the new The Best of Cooking Light Everyday Favorites that Barbara brought home recently, I found the perfect recipe that uses a lot of peppers.  Also given the time of summer that we are in, there is an abundance of fresh corn and tomatoes.  Plus I have always liked corn chowder, but had never made one myself.  So why not try it.  Being that I was making it as our main dish, I decided to modify the recipe and added uncooked shrimp.  If you have followed any of my entries to this blog, you know by now that I never follow a recipe to the "T", but usually modify it for the better.  Adding shrimp was a definite enhancement to this recipe.

A word of warning about this recipe:  it is muy caliente!!!  Very spicy.  If I make this again, which I probably will, I would cut the number of peppers in half.

Corn Chowder with Shrimp
adapted from The Best Of Cooking Light Everyday Favorites

The Ingredients

6 jalapeno peppers  -- I used two ripe jalapeno peppers and four hot garden salsa peppers
1 lb cubed and peeled Yukon gold potato  -- this should be about 3 cups
2 tablespoons butter
1 medium sweet onion chopped
1 yellow pepper chopped
3 tablespoons of celery
~3 cups of fresh corn kernels, which is about 6 ears of corn  -- I think you could cheat a little here  and use frozen corn to simplify the preparation
2 1/2 cups skim milk
1/2 cup Half-and-Half
2 cups of seeded tomatoes  -- I used grape tomatoes and chopped them in half and then in half again.  Grape tomatoes have virtually no seeds in them
~12 frozen and then partially thawed large uncooked shrimp cut into bite size pieces
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
6 tablespoons shredded Monterey Jack cheese as a garnish
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro as a garnish

I used a mix of very ripe jalapeno peppers and hot garden salsa peppers.

Preheat the broiler and place the hot peppers on a foil lined baking sheet.  Broil for about 10 minutes until the skin is well blackened.  You will need to turn them at least once about half way through.  Pull the peppers from the oven and immediately transfer to a zip lock plastic bag.  Close the bag and let them sit for 15 minutes. 

Peel the skin off the peppers, cut them in half, and pull out the stem, seeds and membranes. Then finely chop up the peppers and set aside.

Peel and dice the potatoes.  Fill a medium size sauce pan with water and throw the diced potatoes into it.  Boil the potatoes at simmer for about 15 minutes or until they are tender.  Drain the water.
With a potato masher, partially mash the potatoes. You want some chunks to be in the chowder when finished. The mashed part helps give the chowder some thickness and texture.

Chop the sweet onion.  Do the same to the yellow pepper after removing the seeds and membrane.  Chop the celery as well.

Throw the butter, chopped yellow pepper, the chopped onion, and the chopped celery into a large stock pot.  Over medium heat, saute the vegetables for about 10 minutes after the butter has melted.
Next chop up the tomatoes.

Now a fun part!  Slice the kernels off the ear of corn.  My first slice had corn flying everywhere!  So I decided to try slicing the kernels into a plastic container.  A little unwieldy, but it worked.  I had much less of a mess to clean up afterwards.

Throw the mashed potatoes into the stock pot.

Now toss into the stock pot the tomatoes, corn, hot peppers, skim milk, Half-and-Half, salt and white pepper.  Cook the mixture for a minimum of 30 minutes so that it thickens up stirring frequently.  I cooked it longer because we were just not quite ready to eat it yet.  I turned the heat way down so that it was not boiling anymore, but still hot.

But wait, there is still one more ingredient to add - the shrimp!  Remove the tails from the shrimp and cut into thirds.  Toss this into the chowder mixture about 3-5 minutes before you are going to serve it.  You do not need to have the mixture boiling to cook the shrimp.  It just needs to be hot.  The shrimp are done when they turn pinkish and are firm.

Garnish with the cheese and cilantro.

We ate this chowder two days in a row.  It was just as good, if not better, the second day.


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