This is a repost of a favorite recipe of ours during the fall and winter months. Enjoy!
It is that time of year again. A time to enjoy soups and stews which warm the belly as the cold wind bites and the snow glistens in the sun outside. I got this recipe out of a magazine, and it was quickly a family hit.
One of the first times I made it, my oldest daughter had a friend over for a sleepover. My daughter loves to climb trees. She and her friend had fashioned a small fort high up in the tree with blankets and covered it with a tarp to block out the cold drizzling rain which had begun to sprinkle down on them. When dinner was ready, I called them in to eat. They petitioned to have their chowder up in the tree in their fort.
The mommy in me was screaming, "No, if you are holding on to your soup bowls, you will not be holding on securely to the tree. You could fall and be paralyzed or killed." However, the former teenager in me said, "Wouldn't you have loved to do something like that with your friend? How cool would it have been to eat dinner up in a fort and hang out with your friend?" The former teenager in me won.
Madison was noticeably shocked when I agreed, but I marveled at the two of them as they gathered their food and put it in a basket. I watched as they fashioned a pulley system to pull the food up into the tree. They, needless to say, loved it.
What an experience for them as friends. There is hardly a time I make this chowder that I don't think about those girls and that night with fond memories, but I digress. What you are waiting for is the recipe so here it is.
4 cups water
4 chicken bouillon cubes
2 16-oz bags frozen corn
1 onion, finely chopped
1/2 of a red bell pepper, seeded and diced
2 carrots, cut into 1/4 inch rounds
2 russet potatoes, diced
1 bay leaf
Salt and pepper
1 lb medium shrimp, peeled and deveined (I buy precooked, frozen shrimp.)
1/2 cup heavy cream or half and half, optional
Add the following to a slow cooker: water, bouillon cubes, corn, onion, bell pepper, carrots, potatoes, bay leaf, and 1 tsp. salt. Cover and cook on low until vegetables are tender, about 6 hours. With an immersion blender, puree some of the soup while in the crockpot, approximately about 2-3 cups worth. Don't puree all of the soup together. You want chunks of vegetables to still be intact. If you don't have an immersion blender, take out 2-3 cups of the chowder and puree in a food processor or blender. Add pureed mixture back to the crockpot. You can skip the puree part if you want to which is what I do sometimes. Stir in the shrimp and cream, if using. Cover and cook until shrimp are pink and firm, at least 10-15 minutes. Continue heating until soup is warmed through. Salt and pepper to taste.