A light, yet hearty chowder that’s filling and full of fresh shrimp and seasonal vegetables – this soup will keep you coming back for more! Make it now while sweet, summer corn and zucchini are still lining store shelves and farmers markets.
Soups and stews are typically heavy dishes laden with either thick cream sauces or chunks of hearty meat and filling vegetables. In my mind, it’s usually fall and winter food when you want something to warm you to the bone. While summer is sticking around for a while longer and the heat index is ever rising, I thought I’d whip up a chowder loaded with fresh sweet corn since it’s also still hanging around in my local grocery stores. I’ve also been really into ALL the shrimp lately. We enjoy eating fresh fish on a regular basis – we typically stick to the leaner cuts of meat like chicken, fish, ground turkey – but shrimp is not often on the menu for whatever reason. It’s likely because it’s often more expensive and quality fresh shrimp can be hard to find locally without paying a ton for it. But shrimp has been on sale recently at the stores we regularly shop and so shrimp has been on my mind and gettin’ in ma belly!
This chowder is very hearty in that it will not leave you feeling hungry 30 minutes later and the portions are generous, but being loaded with fresh vegetables and shrimp and no heavy cream base, it feels very light and totally doable in the summer heat.Using seafood like shrimp also helps to keep the flavor light while giving this soup some much-needed protein so that you feel satisfied after eating it. I don’t HAVE to have to meat all the time, but I am definitely a meat eater and lover and I always notice that I just don’t feel as satisfied nor is my energy level as good after eating a meatless meal. My body just craves the protein as part of a balanced, complex diet.
This is another one of those one pot wonders where you slowly dump all of the ingredients into a large pot and let it cook for a bit so the flavors meld. Then the soup base gets thickened up in part by blending 2 cups of the chowder in a food processer or blender until smooth and then adding it back to the pot. That trick really helps with the texture of the chowder.
- 1 Tbsp. EVOO
- 2 strips turkey bacon, chopped
- 1 lb shrimp
- 1 cup chopped yellow onion, about ½ large onion
- 2 celery ribs, chopped
- 1 medium carrot, peeled + chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- ½ tsp. dried thyme
- 5 small yukon gold potatoes, diced into ½-inch cubes
- 2 cups water
- 1 3/4 cup nonfat milk, divided
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 1 bay leaf
- 5 ears of sweet fresh corn, husk + silk removed and kernels cut from cob
- 1 medium zucchini, diced into ½-inch cubes
- 1/4 c half and half
- salt and fresh ground black pepper
- chopped fresh parsley, to garnish
- cayenne pepper, to serve, optional
In a large heavy-duty bottom stockpot or dutch oven, heat EVOO over medium heat. Add turkey bacon and cook until bacon renders its fat and begins to brown, about 3-4 minutes. Add shrimp and cook until they begin to turn pink and are just cooked. Remove shrimp and set aside on a plate.
Add onion, celery, carrots, garlic, and thyme; cook until vegetables begin to soften, stirring occassionally, about 5 minutes.
Add potatoes, water, 1 cup of milk, chicken stock and bay leaf. Raise the heat to medium high and bring to a simmer, then lower the heat back to medium and simmer for 5-8 minutes or until the potatoes are halfway cooked.
Add zucchini and corn; simmer for additional 8-10 minutes or until the vegetables are completely tender.
Discard the bay leaf and then transfer 2 cups of chowder to a food processor or blender; puree until smooth. Stir the mixture back into the pot. Add the shrimp back, the half and half and remaining milk and cook just until heated through. Season with salt and pepper.
Serve garnished with fresh chopped parsley and sprinkle of cayenne pepper, optional.
adapted from Little Broken
This chowder also reheats really well, so it’s great for leftovers the next day or lunch at work. We didn’t try freezing it, but I imagine fully cooked, it would freeze well and reheat nicely on the stove for dinner in a cinch.
Enjoy! <3 K&R