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Our family tradition on Christmas Eve, for as long as I can remember, was a big heaping bowl of Grandpa Reynold’s Oyster Stew! It’s an acquired taste…one I never acquired!
That didn’t stop my Mom, who also wasn’t a fan, from schlepping us to our Grandparents every year, where we pushed little oyster crackers around in the buttery stew, praying the Oysters would magically disappear! (They didn’t! Gag!!! Why ya gotta be so mean little oysters?!)
So when it came my turn to be “The Mom”…I decided to show Mercy to my children (Cause I love my children! lol) and we bid a fond… and excited farewell to Oyster Stew! (sniff, sniff…Hooray! )
Not to worry! We Welcomed other delights to our Holiday dinning table. Cream of Broccoli, Clam Chowder, Chicken Noodle, and Loaded Baked Potato! Every year I like to add a new soup or chowder to our line-up!
This year the winner is Bacon, Shrimp & Corn Chowder! It’s quick, easy, and Ah-mazing!!!
In a large pot or Dutch oven, over medium heat, Fry 5 slices of thick cut bacon.
TIP: I like to pre-cut the bacon into pieces and then fry it. I also like to fry extra up to have on hand. It makes for a quick handy addition to any soup or salad.
Transfer to a plate lined with paper towel to drain off any excess fat. (Maybe if I lined my thighs with paper towels? Never mind!)
Leave 1 Tablespoon of bacon fat in the pot.
Add 1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined, to the pot and cook until pink, about 3-4 minutes, stirring frequently.
Shrimp should turn a beautiful pink color. I will caution NOT to over cook the shrimp. Once they turn pink remove them immediately from the heat with a slotted spoon. Ain’t nobody wantin’ rubbery hockey pucks! So watch that cook time!
Place in bowl and set aside. Leave juices in pot.
Add 2 cups chopped yellow onion and 1 Tablespoon minced garlic. Sauté about 3 minutes, or until the onions have you crying like a baby…NO! I’m just kidding. Cook until onions are soft and translucent.
Add 1 teaspoon smoked paprika, 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme, pinch crushed red pepper, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently for 2 minutes.
Add corn and chicken stock
Add 1 cup half and half. Stir to combine. Add 1 cup heavy whipping cream and 1/2 cup of white cooking wine and stir until well combined.
The original recipe does not call for “White Wine” or Heavy cream. However, I felt this recipe was a little flat! Something was missing! It didn’t have the richness a chowder normally carries and the flavor was lacking. So I added a half cup of cooking wine and a cup of heavy cream. If you don’t like cooking with alcohol then by all means leave it out. It fixed the issues I felt were plaguing this recipe.
The alcohol in wine doesn’t add flavor to dishes so much as it makes other ingredients taste better. Way better! The alcohol helps release flavor molecules in foods (I’m going all Bill Nye on you!) and assists in dissolving fats (That’s it! I’m bathing in wine!), allowing ingredients to reveal their own unique flavors in ways that other liquids cannot.
When adding wine to a sauce, make sure you allow most of the alcohol to cook off; otherwise, the sauce may have a harsh, slightly boozy taste. (That’s not good! We’re just cooking…not drinking!) As the alcohol burns away, the flavor of the sauce concentrates, becoming more delicious.
Stir to combine. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 15 minutes!
Using an immersion blender, blend half of the soup until creamy. If you don’t have an immersion blender, blend 2 cups of soup in the blender and pulse until creamy. (Please use caution when blending hot liquids. Blend in small amounts and hold down the lid with a towel to prevent the top from blowing off and hot liquids out! OUCH!!!)
Return liquids back to pot.
Spoon into bowls, top with cooked shrimp, bacon crumbles, and thyme sprigs, if desired.
I always recommend using garnishes when serving. It completes a dish! And nobody wants a half-naked dish!
Isn’t that a truly beautiful chowder and so simple to make! I love a recipe that looks difficult… but isn’t!
Each spoonful is loaded with the delicious rich subtle flavors of white wine, cream, and spices! Add the sweetness from the corn, the tender juicy shrimp, and the hints of flavor from the smokey bacon…all of which…combine to make this one of the BEST homemade chowder’s.
PIN IT FOR LATER
I mean this when I say…this is as good as you’d find at any fine dinning restaurant!
Serve this scrumptious chowder with a loaf of crusty sour dough bread and a big green salad and you’ve got a fantastic Winter nights meal!
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