Last week, I wrote a bit about a shrimp stock that Alon Shaya of Domenica prepared before our eyes at Avery Island. I couldn't wait to try his technique of "bashing around the shrimp heads" to extract more shrimpy flavor. So the first chance I got, this past Thursday's farmer's market, I bought some fresh jumbo shrimp to make a stock of my own.
Alon used a LOT of tomato paste in his shrimp stock, which he used for a pasta sauce, so the tomato flavor was fitting. I'd decided to showcase the Tabasco Chipotle Pepper Sauce that I recently developed a crush on, so I put a good dose of the sauce in the stock, sort of like giving the stock a heads-up about what it was going to become: chipotle shrimp and corn soup. I like this method of tailoring a stock to a particular recipe: it allows you to build up the flavor even more in support of your desired result. It works!
I also dropped the corncobs into the stock, because why not? This photo is blurry because I was kitchen-dancing.
Sun-colored chipotle-enhanced stock.
The corn was super sweet, and was so fresh and crunchy in this soup. Tabasco Chipotle packs some punch, but it also mellows a bit when it's cooked, so you could even increase the amounts of it here if you want something truly spicy. But for me, this amount was just right: lots of flavor, and a steady, smoky heat.
chipotle shrimp and corn soup
for the shrimp & corn stock:
- 1 yellow onion, diced
- 2 celery stalks, chopped
- 2 carrots, chopped
- 1 clove garlic, smashed or chopped
- 2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- heads and shells from 1 1/2 pounds jumbo shrimp
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1/2 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
- 2 teaspoons Tabasco Chipotle Pepper Sauce
- one 12-ounce bottle beer (nonalcoholic is fine)
- cobs from 3 ears of corn
to finish the soup:
- 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 yellow onion, finely diced
- 2 celery stalks, finely diced
- 1 carrot, peeled and finely diced
- 1/2 a green bell pepper, finely chopped
- salt and ground black pepper to taste
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced (leave some seeds in for extra heat)
- 1 medium yellow or white boiling potato, peeled and diced
- three ears of fresh corn (or 2 cups frozen)
- 3 teaspoons Tabasco Chipotle Pepper Sauce
- 3 cups shrimp and corn stock (above)
- 1 1/2 cups milk (lowfat is fine)
- 1 1/2 pounds fresh jumbo shrimp (weight includes heads and shells), shelled, deveined and roughly chopped
- cilantro leaves, for garnish
- lime wedges, for garnish
- Make the stock: Heat the olive oil in a medium stockpot over medium-high heat. Add onion, celery, carrot, and garlic, and saute about 5 minutes, just to soften. Add salt, peppercorns, and Tabasco Chipotle sauce, and stir well.
- Add shrimp shells and heads to stockpot and bash/mash them around some with a wooden spoon. Pour in the beer and enough water to just barely cover everything in the pot (about 4 cups). Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer over low heat for 45 minutes to an hour. Add the corncobs whenever you finish removing the corn kernels from them, but try to get them in the stockpot for at least 20 minutes of simmering.
- Strain the stock through a fine sieve into a bowl, and set aside until needed. You should have a little over 3 cups; if you don't add it all to the soup, you can freeze what's left for up to a month.
- Make the soup: In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the onion, celery, carrot, bell pepper, and about 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 a teaspoon black pepper, and saute for about 5 to 7 minutes, until soft and translucent. Add garlic and jalapeno and saute for another minute.
- Add corn kernels and Tabasco Chipotle sauce, stirring well. Add chopped potato and 3 cups of shrimp and corn stock, bring to a simmer over high heat, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes, until the potato is cooked through.
- Turn off the heat and stir in the milk. Puree about one-third of the soup in the pot with an immersion blender, or remove two cups of the soup to a blender or food processor and puree (be careful when pureeing hot liquids--always leave the hole in the lid open, covered with a kitchen towel). Return pureed soup to the pot.
- Return the heat to medium, bring to a simmer, and add the chopped shrimp. Simmer until the shrimp are just done, about 4 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt, pepper, and/or more Tabasco Chipotle.
- Serve with cilantro leaves on the top and a big 'ol squeeze of lime.
Serves 4 to 5
Disclaimer: Tabasco compensated me for creating this recipe.