I’m having a bit of a nostalgic moment on this sunny 54 degree start to Memorial Weekend 2015 . . . one of those moments when you’ve had a really good vacation and bam! a memory of it comes flooding back to you. If you’re just tuning in, we spent the month of March in Florida along the Gulf coast where we soaked up sunny, 80+ degree days and we were within walking distance to one of the best fresh seafood markets I’ve ever shopped at . . . as in the boats left the dock before sunrise, caught a whole buncha fish and shrimp, returned to the docks around noon. F.r.e.s.h. Oh Island Court Seafood Market how I miss you!
Now I realize this is THE barbecue weekend — the official start to summer, but if you’re like me, you still crave seafood and chowder and the chowder I’m craving is none other than Smoky Shrimp and Corn Chowder. So go ahead — fire up those grills because you know — we live in Michigan so that means we’ll have those days where you won’t want to stand in the rain under an umbrella tongs in hand and when that day comes . . .Smoky Shrimp and Corn Chowder.
Anyway, here I am in my kitchen, pound of shrimp in hand from my favorite local seafood market, Andreas, who has been family-owned and selling seafood longer than I’ve lived in this area which is more than 30 years — eeegads — 30 years? Anyway, to know them is to trust them . . . and their seafood. They already peeled and — thank you Andreas ♥— deveined the shrimp for me so I just needed to hmmmm . . . I don’t know — pour a glass of wine while I cooked? Sure. That worked just fine. A nice glass of Chardonnay. . . but I digress.
This Smoky Shrimp and Corn Chowder is the total package. I’m talking shrimp, redskin potatoes, sweet corn right off the cob, salty, smoky baaaacon and oh yeah, Smoked Gouda, ’cause you know. . . it’s A Gouda Life. Sorry, I couldn’t resist. But back to the Smoky Shrimp and Corn Chowder — creamy, smoky, a hint of spice, packed with flavor and protein. Let’s say it together: All.Bases.Covered. And hey – for good measure, I threw in some Red Lobster Garlic-Cheddar Biscuits. Not my own recipe — Red Lobster does it right. I just opened the box and mixed what they told me to, ’cause the word is out: I.Don’t.Bake.
But the Red Lobster Garlic-Cheddar, paired with the Smoky Shrimp and Corn Chowder . . .home run.
- Bacon - 3 pieces, thick cut, cubed
- 1 pound of shrimp
- Sea salt
- Fresh cracked black pepper
- 1 T Paprika
- 3-4 red skin potatoes, cubed
- 2-3 ears of corn (depending on size), shucked
- 1/2 large red onion, diced
- 1 jalapeno finely minced (OPTIONAL)
- 2 - cloves of garlic, finely grated
- 2 T flour
- 2 C chicken stock
- 1/2 C heavy cream or whole milk
- 3 T finely chopped parsley
- 3 T finely chopped cilantro - more if you love cilantro like I do
- 2 T cold butter
- 1/2 C Smoked Gouda cheese, grated
- In soup pot over medium heat, fry bacon until crispy and remove from pan.
- Add shrimp to bacon grease (if necessary drizzle in some olive oil).
- Season with salt, pepper and paprika and cook 1-2 minutes per side.
- Remove shrimp from pan, cut in bite-size pieces and set aside.
- Drop in potatoes and corn and sauté about 4-6 minutes.
- Add onion, jalapeno and garlic, seasoning with salt and pepper and continue cooking a few minutes, stirring so garlic doesn't burn.
- Stir in flour and coat, cooking 1-2 minutes.
- Pour in chicken stock. Bring to a boil then reduce heat simmering until potatoes and corn are tender.
- Fold in milk or cream, parsley, cilantro and butter. PULSE with immersion blender in just one area a couple of seconds to thicken but so pieces of potato and corn remain.
- Return shrimp and MOST of bacon to the pot.
- Blend in Gouda until melted.
- Taste and adjust salt and pepper, as needed.
- NOW it's time for the rest of the bacon . . .right.on.top.