corn chowder….

It’s late September and corn is disappearing. What’s available is mature. The cobs are thick waisted and the kernels are portly, more starch than juice. Yet I hate to miss having fresh corn if I can still find it. While I was walking the dog earlier today and mulling the corn situation, I decided to make chowder with spicy shrimp.

When I got back to the car, I jotted down this recipe so I could grocery shop on the way home. The soup is now chilling in an ice bath and I’ll reheat just enough for dinner for two and add sautéed shrimp with green-chile lime rub. The rest I’ll freeze.

Corn Chowder with Spicy Shrimp
Yield: ~ 12 cups (serves 6 entrée portions)

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
2 cups diced onions
1 1/2 cups diced celery
4 large garlic cloves, minced
2 cups dry white wine
8 corn
4 medium waxy potatoes (about 1 1/2 pounds), peeled
4 cups stock (I used a vegetable stock)
1 (14.5 ounce) can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
2 teaspoons coarse salt
freshly ground pepper to taste
1 cup heavy cream
12 extra-large (16-20 count) shrimp, peeled, and deveined
spice rub to taste (this will depend on how spicy your rub is and your tolerance for heat)
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro


Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a large, covered saucepan or 7-quart Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onions, celery, and garlic. Stir to combine, cover the pot, and sweat until translucent about 5 minutes.

Onions, celery, and garlic in melted butter.

Onions, celery, and garlic in melted butter.

Onions, celery, and garlic in melted butter.

Onion mixture after sweating in covered pan for 5 minutes – note the difference in color and texture.

Pour in 2 cups of a dry white wine (not too sweet or too oaky – the flavors will become too pronounced as the wine reduces). Bring to a boil, lower heat to a good simmer. and reduce liquid to about 1/4 cup.

Two cups of white wine.

Two cups of wine added to onion mixture.

Liquids reduced to about 1/4 cup.

In the meantime, take your shucked corn and cut off the kernels with a sharp chef’s knife. Then scrape the empty cobs to get at the “corn milk.”

Corn kernels removed with a chef’s knife and “corn milk” released by scraping the edge of the chef’s knife down the cob.

Cut the potatoes into 1/2-inch cubes. If you have French-fry cutter, it’s perfect for this task. Just push those potatoes through and then slice the sticks into cubes. Otherwise, slice the potato lengthwise into 1/2-inch pieces, turn and cut again into 1/2-inch sticks, and then into 1/2-inch cubes.

Potato cubes.

Once the wine has reduced, add the corn, potatoes, stock, tomatoes, salt and pepper. Stir to combine; raise the heat to high and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to a simmer and continue cooking until potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes.

All ingredients combined and ready to simmer.

Stir in the heavy cream and adjust seasonings. The soup is ready to serve, or chill and refrigerate for later use.

Chowder with cream added.

Dinnertime: If you have chilled the soup, reheat, stirring occasionally; otherwise, keep the soup on a low flame while preparing the shrimp.

Cleaned shrimp sliced in half lengthwise.

Shrimp cut into bite-size pieces.

Shrimp tossed with green-chile-lime rub.

Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons butter in a medium sauté pan. When the butter foams, add the seasoned shrimp. Cook until pink and firm, about 2-3 minutes.

Butter has melted and is foaming – perfect time to add shrimp.

Seasoned shrimp (don’t forget to add salt if your rub is salt free) added to melted butter.

Fully cooked shrimp, ready to add to soup.

Ladle the soup into bowls, top with the shrimp and a sprinkle of chopped cilantro.

Corn Chowder and Spicy Shrimp


Note: My spice rub came from Frontera Grill, but, unfortunately, it looks like they no longer provide rubs – such a shame as they were exceptional. The marinades, salsas, chips, and other products are also very good. The restaurant is a must if you’re in Chicago – but make your major meal; fruit and water is all you need for the rest of the day!

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