Smoky Corn Chowder with Shrimp and Bacon

smoky corn

This recipe isn’t a project, per se, but it’s my favorite soup, hands down, and I thought it worthwhile to share with everyone. It’s a great use for fresh corn, as it preserves the sweetness and the slight crunch of the corn while warming it up with smoky paprika and bacon. The shrimp is just icing on the cake (err… not a particularly appetizing metaphor… let’s go with “gilding the lily”).

The soup is made all in one pot, which makes it an easy weekday meal, and it reheats well (if there’s any left!). If you want to be particularly impressive, go with jumbo shrimp, but it’s just as good with smaller ones. I could eat this every week…

I will warn you, it’s not particularly pretty to look at (kind of a weird pinky-orangey color), even if you garnish it with shrimp and bacon placed just so, but it’s delicious enough to make up for it!

Smoky Corn Chowder with Shrimp and Bacon (adapted from Bev Cooks)

Serves 4

4 slices thick-cut bacon, cut into small pieces (about 1/4 lb.)

1/2 lb. shrimp, peeled and deveined

1 onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tbs. smoked paprika (yes, a whole tablespoon)

1 pinch red pepper flakes

6 ears fresh corn kernels

3 cups chicken stock

1/2 cup cream or half and half

Salt to taste

Sour cream for garnish (optional)

1. Saute bacon in a large pot until crisp. Remove from the pot and set aside.

2. Saute shrimp in the bacon grease until cooked through. Remove and set aside.

3. Saute onions and garlic with a pinch of salt in the same pot a few minutes until slightly translucent.

4. Add smoked paprika and pepper flakes and stir to combine. Cook 1 minute.

5. Add corn, stock, and half and half. Bring to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes.

6. (optional step) Use your immersion blender to blend the soup about 10 pulses, just to break up some of the corn and thicken the soup).

smoky corn process

7. Add shrimp and bacon back to the pot and let simmer until heated through.

8. Serve with a dollop of sour cream if you like.

Notes:

1. If you look at the original recipe from Bev, you’ll see that I increased the amount of bacon and corn by a lot. I had to add more stock to keep the recipe a soup, rather than a mess of corn with liquid at the bottom. You won’t need to increase the flavorings– the paprika is plenty on its own– and this way you can really get tons of that delicious crunchy corn and salty bacon in every bite.

2. Do not substitute regular paprika for the smoked paprika. I mean, I’m sure the soup will taste fine, but it won’t be anywhere near as good as it is with the smoked paprika. Make the effort, get the smoked stuff. Totally worth it.

3. As an alternative to soup, try omitting the stock entirely and reducing the cream to 1/4 cup. Instead of simmering the corn, just saute it for the allotted time so it gets tender, and then serve as a side dish. It’s delicious as-is.

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