I have challenged myself to make meals based on what’s in my freezer or pantry. Not as easy as you might think. I do have a lot of boxed rice mixes and soups given to me by a friend on a special diet. I could always cook one up and add things to it to make it new and unique. Heck, just the other day I made a rice pilaf into an Asian-inspired dish with the addition of meatballs, veggies and a lot of Asian condiments. Not bad. It does go against the habits I’m trying to get into (and stay in) which is eating more healthy via fresh ingredients. But what’s a girl to do when she has a cupboard full of packaged meals, and a freezer full of need-to-be-used-yesterday veggies?
Tonight, I wasted a bit of energy by staring into my freezer trying to come up with ideas. Green beans, corn, tomatoes, bacon, stocks, single-serve soups and a small baggie of jumbo shrimp stared back. There was more but I’m sure you don’t want or need to know the entire contents of my freezer.
I can always make soup. I am almost souped out, but it’s an easy supper. Some sorta take on pasta fagioli/minestrone almost sounds good. It would use up those green beans that have to be cooked or pickled into salad because they have a weird taste otherwise. (Too much? Does anyone else have this problem?) Shrimp. Corn. Wait. I have potatoes. Chowder! I like chowder. Problem solved…for now.
There are a million places to look for cord chowder recipes, but I pulled out my trusty Providence and Rhode Island Cookbook (stained pages = trusty). While they didn’t have a shrimp and corn chowder recipe, they do have an amazingly simple corn chowder. It’s a snap to just throw in some shrimp at the end. It really couldn’t be easier. I had everything I needed on hand…except cream. I made do with 2% and a bit of half & half. p.s. This will work for a Lenten Friday meal. Just remember to omit the bacon.
Give it a try. A bit of summer in the dead of winter.
Corn and Shrimp Chowder
adapted from Little Compton Corn Chowder, The Providence and Rhode Island Cookbook
- 1 quart frozen corn kernels (or kernels from 4-6 ears sweet corn)
- 4 bacon slices, diced
- 1 white onion, finely chopped
- 2-3 potatoes, peeled and diced
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 quart milk
- 1/2 quart heavy cream
- 1/2 lb shrimp (raw or cooked)
- Salt & freshly ground pepper, to taste
In a large saucepan or stockpot, cook bacon over medium heat until crisp. Remove bacon from the pan and set aside. Add onions to the bacon drippings, cooking until onion is tender. Add the potatoes and water. Bring to a simmer and cook 15-20 minutes, or until potatoes are tender.
Add the corn, reserved bacon, milk and cream to the pan. Season to taste. Add raw shrimp, if using. Continue to cook until the shrimp are cooked through. *If using pre-cooked shrimp, add them a few minutes before serving to heat through.
Serve in warmed soup bowls
Notes: The original recipe calls for using the bacon as a garnish only. You may certainly do that; I prefer my bacon in chowder, not on. *The cooking time on raw shrimp will vary with the size of shrimp used. They’re done when they’re pink. I used pre-cooked jumbo shrimp that I chopped before adding. Also, I used a smoked black pepper to compliment the smokiness of the bacon. If you can find any, grab it!
Tip: I filled a large glass measure with 1 cup water then added my diced potatoes. It kept them from getting brown, and adding a bit of starchy water to the chowder.