Monday, December 20, 2010

Corn Chowder with Bacon, Shrimp, and Fennel

Corn chowder.  We love it at our house.  I've tried various recipes. . .Ina Garten has a winner.  This one may have Ina beat.  This one is an adaptation of  "Shrimp and Corn Chowder with Fennel" from Real Simple.  I did change it up quite a bit, adding turkey bacon,  a sweet potato instead of yellow or red potato, and used 2% milk instead of whole milk.  I also blended a cup of the corn mixture, to make it thicker.   The final result was a comforting, hearty chowder.  It was perfect for the cold winter weather we've had in Minnesota.

Corn Chowder with Bacon, Shrimp and Fennel
Adapted from Real Simple Magazine, February 2010
4-6 slices turkey bacon (or pork), cut into small pieces
1 Tbsp. unsalted butter
2 leeks, (white and light green parts), chopped
1 fennel bulb, chopped
Kosher salt
Black pepper
2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
1 8 oz. bottle of clam juice
3 cups 2%  milk
1 lb. sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 lb. cooked, peeled, and deveined medium or large shrimp
1 10 oz. package frozen corn
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh Italian parsley
2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
Crusty bread

Saute bacon in a Dutch oven on medium-high heat until crisp.  Set aside on paper towel-lined plate.  Save pan drippings and add 1 Tbsp. butter to the Dutch oven on medium-high heat.  Add leeks and fennel to the pan; season with 1/2 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper.  Cook, stirring occasionally, for 4-5 minutes.  Stir in the flour. 
Add the clam juice, milk, and potatoes.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 12 minutes.  Stir in the corn.  Cook for 1-2 minutes, then remove at least 1 cup of the corn/milk mixture (with leeks/fennel) and blend in a blender until smooth.  Add mixture back to the Dutch oven, along with the shrimp.  Cook until the potatoes are tender and shrimp and corn are heated through, 3-5 minutes.  Stir in parsley and lemon juice.
Place chowder in bowls and season again with salt and pepper if needed.  Serve with crusty bread (sourdough works well).  Yum!