Monday, March 7, 2011

Bubba Would Approve

In the past I usually made sausage jambalaya for Mardi Gras, but this year I'm going to cut back on the fat and salt by serving shrimp soup instead.  This meal in a bowl was inspired by a chowder recipe in Jasper White’s 50 Chowders: One Pot Meals – Clam, Corn & Beyond.  Our reduced-fat, vegetable-heavy version lacks most of the cream-based richness of the original, but it’s still delicious.

Shrimp Soup

1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp minced garlic
½ pound small raw fresh or defrosted frozen shrimp; peel them and save the shells
1 large bulb fennel
1 cup dry white wine
4 cups water
Vegetable oil spray
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped celery
½ tsp crushed fennel seeds
½ tsp crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
4 ounces turkey bacon, microwaved and chopped
½ pound diced potatoes
1 can fire-roasted tomatoes
½ cup half-and-half
Black pepper and (if necessary) salt to taste

Cook the olive oil, half of the garlic, and the shrimp shells (not the shrimp!) in a large Dutch oven or heavy saucepan over medium-high heat until the shrimp shells turn red.  Meanwhile, separate the tops and tough outer layers of the fennel from the core.  Chop the core and set it aside.  Chop the trimmings and add them with the wine and the water to the pot and simmer for about 20 minutes; then strain the resulting stock into a bowl and discard the solids.  Dry the pot and spray with vegetable oil.  Add the onion, chopped fennel core, celery, fennel seeds, red pepper, and the rest of the garlic; sauté until the vegetables soften.  Add the bacon, potatoes, and shrimp stock.  Increase the heat and bring to a boil.  Cover the pot and cook for 5-8 minutes, or until the potatoes are almost done.  Reduce the heat again.  Add the tomatoes and simmer for five minutes; then add the shrimp and cook, stirring, for one minute more.  Take the pot off the stove and stir in the half-and-half; taste; add pepper and salt as needed.  Cover the pot and let the soup rest for 10 minutes (the shrimp will continue to cook).  Makes four servings.

"Anyway, like I was sayin', shrimp is the fruit of the sea. You can barbecue it, boil it, broil it, bake it, saute it. Dey's uh, shrimp-kabobs, shrimp creole, shrimp gumbo. Pan fried, deep fried, stir-fried. There's pineapple shrimp, lemon shrimp, coconut shrimp, pepper shrimp, shrimp soup, shrimp stew, shrimp salad, shrimp and potatoes, shrimp burger, shrimp sandwich. That- that's about it." ~Bubba (from Forrest Gump

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