The only thing better than hot soup on a cold night? Soup you can make in one pot. Enter: this Cajun-spiced shrimp and corn chowder, showcasing the aromatic “holy trinity” of celery, onion, and bell pepper. Creamy, slightly spicy, and oh-so comforting, this chowder will turn even the biggest soup skeptic into a believer.
¼ ounce thyme
¼ ounce parsley
1 bay leaf
2 russet potatoes
2 red bell peppers
2 stalks celery
1 yellow onion
3 cloves garlic
1¼ pounds shrimp
2 teaspoons Cajun spice blend
½ teaspoon smoked paprika
2 teaspoons tomato paste
2 cups corn
16 ounces vegetable stock
10″ large pot
To infuse sauces or soups with fragrant flavor, chefs add whole herbs in a bundle (known as a bouquet garni) for easy removal before serving. They’re often wrapped in cheesecloth or secured with string, but you can tie a long thyme sprig around the bunch to hold it all together. Or, just add the herbs loose and fish them out before serving.
Rinse all produce. Set aside 1 whole thyme sprig. Stack bay leaf and remaining thyme sprigs in a bunch; tie reserved thyme around bunch and secure with a knot to make bouquet garni (see Recipe Tip). Roughly chop parsley leaves, discarding stems. Cut potatoes into ½-inch dice. Halve bell peppers lengthwise, discarding seeds and stems; cut into ¼-inch pieces. Thinly slice celery. Peel onion and cut into small dice. Mince garlic.
Pat shrimp dry with a paper towel and season all over with half of spice mix, 1 teaspoon salt, and black pepper as desired. Heat 2 tablespoons canola oilin a large pot over medium-high heat. When oil is shimmering, add shrimpand cook, stirring occasionally, until opaque and just pink, 4–6 minutes total. Using a slotted spoon, transfer shrimpto a plate and set aside (see Recipe Tip). Wipe pot clean for the next step.
Place pot from shrimp over medium heat and add 2 tablespoons canola oil. When oil is shimmering, add bouquet garni, onion, and garlic. Sauté, stirring, until onion begins to soften, about 3 minutes. Add bell peppers, celery, and remaining spice mix and cook, stirring, until vegetables begin to soften, about 3 minutes more. Season with ½ teaspoon salt and black pepper as desired.
Increase heat under pot with aromatics to medium high, and add potatoes. Cook, stirring, until softening, 5 minutes. Add tomato paste and stir to fully coat vegetables, 1–2 minutes more.
Add corn and vegetable stock to pot, then add enough water to just cover potatoes (this ensures they’re fully submerged and can cook through evenly and completely). Stir to combine. Increase heat to high and bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium high and simmer until soup has reduced and potatoes are tender when pierced with a knife tip, 5–7 minutes. This is a great time to set the table!
Reduce heat under pot to medium. Return cooked shrimp to pot and stir to warm through, 3–4 minutes. Remove and discard bouquet garni, then taste and add salt and black pepper as desired. Ladle Cajun shrimp and corn chowder into roomy serving bowls, garnish with parsley, and dig in!
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