Sunday, March 24, 2013

Ask and You Shall Receive...

My husband is many wonderful things, but he is not decisive when it comes to food.  In the interest of full disclosure, I'm not much better. Way back when we first started seriously dating and generally eating dinner together each night, choosing what we would make was an ordeal consisting largely of "I don't knows" on my side and "I don't feel likes" on his side.  This of course, leads to eating dinner at an ungodly hour. In a misguided attempt to solve our problem one day, I called him before he left work (this was back before texting was a thing) with some suggestions for dinner.  I guess I shouldn't have been surprised when he came back with "I can't choose.  I'm not hungry yet.  I won't know what I want until I'm hungry."  Needless to say, once we moved in together he pretty much lost all say in dinner entirely, and I just started cooking whatever I wanted.

Which is why last weekend when he suddenly developed a strong desire to have shrimp chowder for dinner, I was happy to oblige.  Not only was I thrilled that he was offering up a dinner suggestion, I just happened to have a recipe for shrimp chowder on hand that I wanted to try.  The recipe comes from a friend of my grandmother's. She hosted a lunch and my Nana thought the soup was so delicious that she got the recipe for me.  It had languished in my recipe file for awhile, but I'm glad Ryan gave me the motivation to finally try it.  It's definitely going into the rotation.

altered slightly from the original

1 lb shrimp (peeled, deveined and chopped into bite sized pieces, but not too small!)
6 slices bacon (or turkey bacon)
1 1/2 C diced onion
2 celery ribs
2 medium baking potatoes, diced
3 bottles clam juice
1 C light cream
1 C milk
salt and pepper to taste

In a large heavy bottomed pot or dutch oven, cook your bacon.  You can do it as slices and crumble later, but I chopped mine ahead and then fished out the bits when they were crisp.  Crisping will take 5-7 minutes over medium heat.  Remove the bacon to paper towels and set aside until later.  Chop your celery, I do mine in a fine dice because Ryan hates celery, but you can gauge your chopping size however you please. Add the onion and the celery to the pan (no need for butter or oil if you have bacon drippings in the pan).  Cook for 7 minutes or until the onion is soft and translucent.  Then add the clam juice and the potatoes.  Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cover.  Let simmer 15-20 minutes until your potatoes are tender.  Add the milk and cream (you can add all cream, even all heavy cream if you want full decadence).  Then add your shrimp and simmer for 3 minutes until they are pink.
Be really careful throughout these last 2 steps because if the heat is too high the cream will kind of separate and get grainy.  It'll taste fine, but look yucky. Add your salt and pepper to taste.  Once the shrimp are cooked you can add the bacon.  I served first and then used the bacon as a pretty garnish, but you're more than welcome to just stir it into the soup.

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