Spicy Corn Chowder

Two weeks into 2013 and I’m still fighting just about every germ out there. So despite the unseasonably warm weather we’ve had over the last couple of days, soup was on the menu once again. I spent the majority of this weekend eating soup while curled up on the couch watching The West Wing on Netflix and mastering my new favorite iPhone game, Free Flow. Nick says I’m “too brainy.” I have no idea where he got that idea from…

Being from Boston, I take my chowder pretty seriously. I do not believe that the words “Manhattan” or “Rhode Island” should be used in the same sentence as “clam chowder.” It’s either Boston clam Chowder or New England clam chowder. And that’s it. But recently, I’ve seen several delicious looking recipes for corn chowder and decided it might be good for me to broaden my definition of the word.

Similar to clam chowder, corn chowders are usually a cream based dish. I took the liberty of using coconut milk in lieu of cream to keep this dish lighter, healthier and just a tad exotic. The coconut milk also does a great job of cutting through all the spice, and believe me there’s a lot of it. If you’re looking for a milder meal, feel free to cut either the chipotle peppers or the green chilies along with the cayenne pepper. There will still be a lot of flavor minus all of the heat. Shrimp and bacon are best friends when it comes to eating, so for me it was no contest when choosing the proteins in this meal. However, you could just as easily use other any other type of seafood or even chicken.

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Spicy Corn Chowder

  • 5 slices bacon, cut into 1” pieces (I like to make 6 slices, because I’m liable to eat a lot of it while cooking the rest of the meal!)
  • 1 large white onion, diced
  • 16 oz frozen corn, thawed
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
  • 7 oz canned green chilies
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 qt veggie or seafood stock
  • 14 oz coconut milk, well stirred
  • 2-3 tbsp corn flour
  • 2 lb shrimp, deveined and peeled
  • 4 scallions, finely chopped
Where are the shrimp? Oh didn't you know? They're camera shy! Very sensitive creatures, those shrimp!

Where are the shrimp? Oh, didn’t you know? They’re camera shy! Very sensitive creatures, those shrimp!

Cook up the bacon in a large soup pot or Dutch oven until it is nice and crispy. Remove the bacon and set aside on a paper towel.

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Cook the onion and the corn in the bacon fat, seasoning well with salt and pepper. When the onion turns translucent, add the garlic, chipotle peppers, green chilies  cumin and cayenne. Mix everything together and cook for another moment or two until it becomes fragrant and yummy smelling. Add in the stock and coconut milk and bring your chowder up to a simmer.

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Whisk the corn flour into the chowder until it reaches your desired consistency. I prefer a thicker chowder, so I used a full 3 tablespoons. If you used light coconut milk, you may need a little more.

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Simmer the chowder for at least 20 minutes, and up to one hour if you’d like. About 10 minutes before serving add the shrimp, scallions and bacon to the pot. Continue to simmer until the shrimp turn pink and are cooked through. Do not allow the chowder to boil as that will make the shrimp rubbery and tough to eat.

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