Behind the Dish: Corn and Shrimp Chowder with Tomatoes

Tonight’s James Beard special is another heartwarmer for wintertime. It gets its flavor not only from corn, shrimp and tomatoes, but from bacon and mirepoix (onions, carrots and celery). The mirepoix is sautéed in the bacon fat after the bacon is cooked; then potatoes, chicken stock, thyme, clam juice (or water or fish stock) and white wine are added, as well as corn on the cob. (The cobs get removed later and the corn scraped off and added to the chowder, sometimes with more corn added.) This mixture gets cooled down, fat skimmed, and then some of the solids are puréed so it has a part-creamy, part-chunky texture. Milk, salt and pepper are stirred in, and the bacon, shrimp, tomatoes and chives are added for the final minutes of simmering time.

To make this more of a main dish, we’ve also beefed it up a little by adding a combination of large and small shrimp; pearl onions; some green peas for color and flavor; and topping it off with a trio of crispy little corn-bacon fritters.

A bowl of this chowder will bring warmth to your evening for sure. Don’t forget to ask for bread!

Shrimp Étouffée lets “les bons temps rouler”!

JuliaProject924For those craving some real Cajun fire in their meal, this dish, as Emeril loves to say, kicks it up a notch. The deep reddish-brown sauce brings the spice and the heat just the way you like it! It’s full of plump whole shrimp and shrimp pieces swimming in the sauce with the peppers, onions and other flavorings, with a bed of soft, fluffy white rice smack dab in the middle. And we kicked it up another notch by adding a couple of black-bean-and-corn fritters — kind of like souped-up hush puppies — to each bowlful. It’s a BAM! to your tastebuds New Orleans-style. Try it! Or, if you missed last night’s moussaka and are regretting it, you’re in luck, because it’s our reprise dish tonight. Cajun or Greek — you make the call!