This is a summery chowder, when the corn is fresh and delicious and the shrimp are running. The bacon and scallions are just the icing on the cake…so to speak. Corn chowder is just plain delicious. Well, there really isn’t anything plain about this chowder. I always make this in the summer. Oh, yeah. I make it in the winter, too, but it never tastes as good as in summer. So….
First, you need a big soup pot. Toss in the bacon; brown the bacon pieces until they’re crisp. Then, remove and drain. I remove all but about 2 tablespoons of the fat. I cut the kernels from the cobs; I sauté the kernels. I don’t like to overcook the corn, as I like them to have a bit of crunch. I add the white parts of the scallions, the shrimp broth (this is made from shrimp shells), the creams and the cream-style corn. I add the cream-style corn as a thickener, as well as for flavor. Sometimes I thicken the chowder with some rice flour, keeping it gluten free. But, it really isn’t all that necessary. I simmer the soup for 4 or 5 minutes, then add the spices. You can stop here up to 2 hours before serving. About 5 minutes before I intend to serve the chowder, I add the shrimp. You don’t want to overcook the shrimp. I toss in the bacon and ladle the chowder into the bowls. I like to add some freshly grated parmesan to each bowl. I like to place a dollop of Schug on my bowl, but that’s up to you. Good bread is always welcome, but cornbread is Nirvana.
This “soup” is delicious as is. But, you can use the leftover soup as a sauce for pasta sauce…yeah, that’s right! We’ll share that recipe later, but it’s helpful to remember that leftovers can be repurposed and be totally delicious.
Shrimp-Corn Chowder with Bacon and Scallions
- 8 slices good smoky bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 3 ears of corn, husks and silk removed
- 5 scallions, white part and green part chopped separately
- 2 cups shrimp broth (or chicken, clam broth or water)
- 2 (15-ounce) cans cream-style corn
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 1/2 cups half-and-half or whole milk
- 3-4 teaspoons rice flour (optional)
- 1 teaspoon South Shore Seasoning* or Old Bay Seasoning
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 5 large cloves garlic, finely minced
- 1 pound cleaned shrimp, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- Shredded Parmesan-Reggiano
- Schug or sriracha sauce
Heat a large pot over medium heat. Add the bacon; sauté until the bacon is crisp. Drain and set aside. Remove all but 2 tablespoons of the bacon fat. Cut the corn from the cobs; sauté for about 3 minutes. Add the white part of the scallions. Continue to cook for a couple of minutes more. Add the cream-style corn, broth, heavy cream and half-and-half. If you want the soup to be thicker, stir the rice flour into the half-and-half, then add to the soup pot. Simmer for 5 minutes or until the mixture thickens, if you added the rice flour. Stir in the seasonings and garlic, then add the shrimp. Cook just until the shrimp are tender, about 3-5 minutes. Stir in the reserved cooked bacon. Taste and correct the seasoning.
Serve piping hot, garnished with shredded cheese and a dollop of Schug or sriracha sauce and lots of black pepper.
NOTE: This is delicious as is, but you can add finely chopped fresh basil, thyme or cilantro. You can add finely chopped chiles or roasted tomatoes, as well. This makes a lovely pasta sauce, served over cooked orecchiette pasta.
Shrimp-Corn Chowder with Bacon and Scallions Recipe©Marcia Lahens 2017. All rights reserved.
As I mentioned, I love this with a dollop of schug on top, but diced pickled jalapeños would work, too. Instead of bacon, you may use finely diced smoky ham. Diced roasted peppers could are nice as well.