Prep 30 mins
Cook 1 hr
From 50 chowders by Jasper White
- 1 1⁄2 lbs small shrimp (26 to 40 count per pound)
- 1 small fennel bulb
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 5 cloves garlic, 2 crushed and 3 finely chopped
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 4 cups water
- kosher salt or sea salt
- 4 ounces thick slab bacon, rind removed and cut into 1/3 inch dice
- 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
- 1⁄4 teaspoon fennel seed, finely chopped
- 1⁄2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
- 1 1⁄2 lbs yukon gold potatoes, maine,pei or 1 1⁄2 lbs other potatoes, peeled,quartered and sliced 1/4 inch thick
- 1 cup whole canned tomatoes, with their juice,finely chopped
- 1 1⁄2 cups heavy cream
- fresh ground black pepper
- Peel the shrimp, reserving the shells.
- (It is impractical to devein small shrimp, but if you're using larger ones, do devein them.) Split the shrimp lengthwise in half down the back, cover and refrigerate until needed.
- Remove the fronds (lacy top) from the fennel, coarsely chop and reserve for garnish, covered and refrigerated.
- Trim off the tops and tough outer layers of the fennel and coarsely chop, reserve for the stock.
- Quarter the fennel bulb lengthwise, cut away the core and cut very thinly across into 1/4- to 1/3-inch slices.
- Add 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and the 2 crushed garlic cloves to a 10- or 12-inch high-sided skillet or saute pan and heat over medium-high heat until the garlic begins to brown.
- Add the shrimp shells and saute for 5 minutes, or until the shells turn red and are very aromatic.
- Add the fennel trimmings, the wine and the water, bring to a simmer, and simmer for 20 minutes.
- Season lightly with salt.
- Strain the stock; you should have 3-1/2 cups.
- Heat a 4- to 6-quart heavy pot over low heat to medium and cook until the bacon is a crisp golden brown.
- Pour off all the fat except 1 tablespoon, leaving the bacon in the pot.
- Add the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil and the chopped garlic and cook for 30 seconds.
- Add the onion, sliced fennel, fennel seeds and crushed red pepper (if using) and saute, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon, for about 10 minutes, until the onion and fennel are softened but not browned.
- Add the potatoes and reserved shrimp stock.
- The stock should just barely cover the potatoes; if it doesn't, add enough water to cover.
- Turn up the heat and bring to a boil.
- Cover the pot and cook the potatoes vigorously for about 8 minutes, until they are soft on the outside but still firm in the center.
- If the broth hasn't thickened lightly, smash a few potatoes against the side of the pot and cook a minute or two longer to release their starch.
- Reduce the heat to medium, add the tomatoes, and simmer for 5 minutes more.
- Stir in the shrimp and cook for 1 minute, then remove the pot from the heat and stir in the cream.
- Let sit for 10 minutes while the shrimp finish their slow cooking.
- Taste the chowder and season with black pepper and more salt if needed.
- If you are not serving the chowder within the hour, let it cool a bit, then refrigerate; cover the chowder after it has chilled completely.
- Otherwise, let sit at room temperature for up to an hour, allowing the flavors to meld.
- When ready to serve, reheat the chowder over low heat; don't let it boil.
- Ladle into cups or bowls, making sure the shrimp, fennel, potatoes and bacon are evenly divided.
- Sprinkle with the reserved chopped fennel fronds.
- note:If you use frozen shrimp, defrost slowly in the refrigerator; this will help to maintain their texture.
I made this recipe exactly as stated up to the point of adding 1 1/2 cups of cream. I started with 1/2 cup and decided that was enough for us. A delicious soup and with our temperature hovering around zero yesterday, it was very comforting. I'm going to stretch the leftovers with a little more stock, another can of tomatoes and maybe another 1/2 cup cream so that I can include it in a soup supper I'm having for the Bowl game on Sunday. Thank you Mean Chef!