I've been in a soup kind of place lately. With the chilly weather outside, snuggling up with a warm bowl of deliciousness just seems perfect. Not surprising then that last night I broke out the soup pot again. I have a recipe magazine/book that I bought some years back because it looked interesting, but was called "Weeknight Menus," so I figured it would be fairly easy stuff. The joke was on me, though, because while the recipes are most certainly interesting and definitely delicious, quick and easy they are not.
I have a couple that I make regularly, like my Thai Basil Shrimp which I will someday post, but for the most part I have not ventured further into the book. It wasn't until earlier this week, tired of all of my standard fare, that I decided I was going to get more out of this book. To hell with the time and effort involved. So I went through with pen and paper and created a grocery list of all of the things I would need for the four recipes I was planning to make this week. Last night I was featuring Chipotle Shrimp Soup. At the grocery store, I found pretty much everything I needed, except for Chipotle in Adobo Sauce. Which as it turns out is fairly common in Mexican cooking, but not so much in my local Safeway. So, quick thinker that I am, I bought jalapenos with the plan of making my own adobo. Sortof. More on that in a minute.
Side note: I also got some Cilantro which I absolutely adore and would put in everything if I could. When I was checking out, the lady looked up at me as she was scanning those tasty green sprigs and pointed out that it was Cilantro, she wanted to make sure I knew what I had because earlier in the day a woman had accidentally gotten it instead of Parsley. I assured her that I did indeed want Cilantro but I understood the mistake, the two look a lot alike. I had once gotten Parsley instead of Cilantro. She smiled and said, "well, they're pretty much the same thing, right?" I was shocked and appalled. Cilantro has a distinct flavor that is very, very different from parsley. It is used frequently in Asia, India, Latin America, Africa...pretty much everywhere but the US and Europe. Friends, this is not a mistake you want to make. Although sometimes called Chinese Parsley, Cilantro and Parsley are NOT interchangeable.
So back to the soup.
Here are the ingredients:
3 slices thick sliced bacon, diced
1/2 cup onion, diced
1/2 cup celery, diced
1/2 teaspoon garlic, minced
2 tablespoons flour
1/4 cup sherry wine
2 cups chicken broth
1 1/2 cups frozen corn kernels
2 medium sized red potatoes, diced
1 cup whole milk
1-2 tablespoon chipotle chile in adobo, minced (or to taste) *
2 teaspoons fresh thyme, minced**
1 lb medium shrimp, peeled, deveined and halved lengthwise
1/2 cup heavy cream (I used fat-free half and half and it was fine, but it would certainly be VERY tasty with the fully leaded version)
Saute bacon in a large pot over medium heat until crisp. Add onions,celery and garlic and saute 3-4 minutes, being careful not to burn the garlic. Stir in flour and cook one minute. Deglaze with sherry, stirring to scrape up bits from the bottom of the pot. Stir in broth, corn, potatoes, milk, chipotles, and thyme. Bring to a simmer and cook 15 minutes. Add shrimp and cream to soup. Simmer 5 minutes to cook shrimp. Salt to taste.
Truth be told, the recipe wasn't that complicated, but between the dicing, slicing and sauteeing, it easily took 45 minutes. So while easy, it is not quick. Great for occasionally, but not weekly. It is spicy, which I love but that can be toned down by using less Chipotle, and satisfyingly filling. My husband raved (This soup is great!) about it, and high praise from him is usually along the lines of "it's fine." This recipe makes about four servings but can easily be doubled and is very good reheated. Great for a chilly winter day!
*I couldn't find this, so I diced one jalapeno pepper and poured a half teaspoon smoke seasoning, 1 teaspoon ketchup, 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar and a dash of salt over it. I left it to sit while I prepared the rest of the ingredients, stirring it up occasionally. I know this is probably the bastard son of chipotle in adobo, but I gave it a try and it came out great.
**For those of you that don't often work with Thyme: Instead of mincing, I will run my fingers down the stalk (no comments from the peanut gallery) brushing the itsy bitsy leaves off. It's easy and your hands smell like yummy Thyme for hours.