Saturday, October 3, 2009

Rollercoaster Soup

I started constructing this soup weeks ago when we had a cooler shift in the temperatures and I thought fall was on the way. I bought shell-on shrimp then, only to have a heat wave, so I prepared the shrimp for a late summer cocktail. Of course, then it got cool again and I was suckered into buying more shrimp. Then I didn't have all the ingredients, having used some of them in subsequent meals.

Finally, finally, I thought I had it all together and the weather was right for soup.

You build this soup layer by layer, almost like building a house. For the foundation I used clam juice in which I simmered the shrimp shells and basil stems (the chowder has potatoes in it so I thought corn was redundant) for about 20 minutes, then strained into the pot where I had crisped the bacon bits and sautéed the chopped onions, garlic, fennel, carrots, just a smidge of red pepper flakes and celery (the recipe called for additional butter to sauté the veggies but I just used the bacon fat left in the pot).

Simmered all that together for a few minutes to mingle, adding fresh chopped ripe tomatoes toward the end, then added the shrimp at the last minute to cook in the residual heat from the broth. Despite the salty clam broth and shrimp, it needed some additional salt and some pepper to make it perfect.

Ladled it into a big bowl, topped with basil chiffonade and bacon bits. The flavors were subtle but distinct, the aromas complex and interesting, and the soup was surprisingly hearty despite the delicate ingredients. I think I'd use fresh corn next time instead of the spuds but that's nitpicking, really.
It was worth the ups and downs and the wait for perfect Rollercoaster Soup weather.

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Blogger Greg said...

Feels like it is going to be soup weather this weekend. Time for Chowda.

Saturday, October 03, 2009  
Blogger Chilebrown said...

That sounds wonderful! If I were making this soup a couple of changes might be in order. First I would omit all these ingredints: clam juice,,shrimp, tomato, onion, carrots,fennil, garlic and all spices.
Then I would enjoy the Bacon!


Saturday, October 03, 2009  
Blogger cookiecrumb said...

I'm feeling soupy too.
I can't believe how beautiful your soup is.

(Ooh, CB is in rare form.)

Saturday, October 03, 2009  
Blogger Kitt said...

That looks really yummy. I would totally order that in a restaurant. I'm kind of wimpy when it comes to cooking seafood at home.

Saturday, October 03, 2009  
Blogger Zoomie said...

Greg, you're right. I'll have to think about what other kind of soup I can make for this crisp day!

Chilebrown, you are incorrigible but I like you anyway.

Cookiecrumb, comfort food and fall just kinda go together, don't they? I'll look forward to reading about your version.

Kitt, I have to admit, shelling and deveining the shrimp was a bore but the rest went together easily and the result was really tasty, definitely worth the effort as we got three meals from that pot of soup.

Sunday, October 04, 2009  

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