Creamy Corn, Shrimp and Bacon Soup

I know, I know.  It’s too hot for soup.  So feel free to put this aside and revisit it in the fall.  Just be sure that you shave some corn off the cob and freeze it so you’ll have it then.  Or just crank the A/C and make it now!  This is one of those meals that started with an inspiration and turned into something that I have to believe is much better than the original.  It’s really a farmers’ market leftovers /what was ready in the garden creamy soup.  And it rocks.  Really.  Rocks.

My inspiration for tonight is a recipe for Bacon-Corn Chowder with Shrimp from this month’s Cooking Light.  I started with a pound of the world’s best bacon from Crabill’s and provided to me by the lovely folks at Greenway Beef.  We’re in high tomato season so having bacon around (and some Duke’s) is a must.  When I looked at the recipe I realized that I had less than half the amount of corn that I needed and no celery.  Sigh.  And then I realized that I’ve made soup hundreds of times.  It doesn’t really require a recipe.  A look in the garden harvest bowl revealed a lovely Jetsetter tomato and two small jalapenos.  Bingo.  Soup’s on.

(Pardon the photo. The steam makes it hard to get a good one).

I decided to take this in a Southwest direction so that I could use the jalapenos. I sauteed the onions and peppers in a little of the bacon grease and the added the corn.  I like a little char on the veggies so I let them go a while.  Plenty of chicken stock in the freezer, and a need to free up some space, so stock instead of water.  Tastes better too.  Tomatoes, seared shrimp and crumbled bacon.  A little cream and a little milk for some additional creamy elements.  Done.  Mostly.

The rule of soup is that if you want thicker soup puree half of your aromatics (onions, peppers, etc) in a little of your liquid and then add it back to the pot.  In this case the puree is onions, jalapenos and corn in chicken stock.  You can do this in a blender or a food processor. Either way be sure there’s a vent.  Either take the little center plastic thing out of the middle of the blender top or remove that squarish thing from the top of the food processor.  (We only use technical culinary terms here in One Woman’s Kitchen).  If there’s no place for the steam to go when you puree something hot it will blow the top off of your machine and splatter you, and your kitchen, with hot soup puree.  Ouch, and gross.

Once I added the puree back to the pot and added the rest of the ingredients I was ready to dive in.  I pulled out a tasting spoon and…meh.  It was good, but not as good as I’d hoped.  I added a little salt.  Better, but still a little lacking.  A squeeze of fresh lime juice and…SHAZAM!  Now that’s good stuff.  Just needed something fresh and bright and acidic to balance all the creamy sweetness.  Now, don’t add the lime juice to the cooking pot.  You want it to stay as fresh tasting as possible so squeeze a wedge over each individual bowl.  If you have the time serve it with a good cornbread or some Broccoli Bread.  Or serve it with a light and leafy salad.  Personally I ate two bowls, no accompaniment needed.

Good? Did you notice the “SHAZAM?”  This is GOOD STUFF.
Easy? It’ll be even easier with a recipe to follow.
Good for company? Yep.
Special shopping? Nope, one of the best things about soup is adjusting it based on what you have.

Creamy Corn, Shrimp and Bacon Soup

Ingredients

6 slices of bacon, cooked
3 T bacon grease, reserved and divided
1 sweet onion, diced
2 small jalapenos, seeded and diced
2 ears fresh corn, kernels shaved from the cobs
2 C chicken stock
1 large tomato, diced
20-25 medium shrimp
1/4 C milk
splash of cream (optional)
salt and pepper to taste
1 lime, cut into wedges

Directions

Heat 2 T bacon grease in a small stock pot. Add onions and peppers. Saute until soft, 3-4 minutes. Add corn. Saute another 2 minutes. Add chicken stock and bring to a simmer.
While stock comes to a simmer, sear the shrimp in a heavy pan using the remaining tablespoon of bacon grease at medium-high heat. About 2 minutes on each side. Feel free to use thawed, frozen shrimp for this. Set shrimp aside.
Add 1/2 of the stock and vegetable mixture to a blender or food processor. Puree until smooth. Add puree back to the stock pot.
Add 4 slices bacon – crumbled, tomatoes, shrimp, milk and cream to the pot. Heat through. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Ladle into bowls. Top with each bowl with some of the remaining 2 slices of crumbled bacon and squeeze and lime wedge over each just before serving.

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