Wednesday, 11 September 2013

If You're Fond Of Sand Dunes And Salty Air...

You're sure to fall in love with old Cape...Prawn?
Whoever thinks that food needs to look pretty in order to taste good has never tasted this. 

Smokey, salty, slightly spicey corn chowder with flecks of crisp bacon scattered across the top and plump juicy prawns floating in its depths.   I could say it tastes like a windswept beach covered in olive green seaweed and silvery grey driftwood but frankly that sounds a bit grainy and bitty, like when you get sand in your sandwich at a picnic, not to mention ridiculous and pretentious.  So I won't mention that.
I will however say that this is a hearty, warming meal, perfect for the slight change to more autumnal weather that we are currently experiencing.

If however you are still unconvinced and want to check out someone whose photography is much better than mine, you can see the original recipe here.  Bev is just a lot better with her camera, lighting manipulation and artistically arranged shots than I am - I was much more focused on getting it to the table and in our bellies.
I made this using three fresh corn cobs and cut the kernels off using a knife run down the cob but honestly? Just use a big tin of Green Giant or frozen.  I really don't think it will make much difference.

I also didn't serve this with any bread (I forgot) but I would recommend some fresh baked to mop up the remainder of the chowder, preferably warm from the oven with slightly melted butter over spread over the top (I'm not saying bake your own - that's ridiculous,  I'm saying get some from the bakery and warm it in a low oven.  Much less hassle!)

So without further ado, here is the recipe (for 2 people):
3 strips of un-smoked streaky bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 large packets of raw King Prawns
1 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
3 tablespoons smoked paprika
1 tablespoon chipotle paste (this adds a rich smokey flavour with a hint of heat - quite important.  Steve  found mine in the Tex-mex section of Morrison's although a friend has made her own which is simply amazing - I couldn't stop eating it on tortilla chips).
3 ears fresh corn, kernels removed (or 1 large tin of sweetcorn / 3 fistfuls of frozen)
2 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup single cream (you can get away with low fat)
Heat a medium-sized pot over medium heat.
Add the bacon and cook until crispy.
Remove bacon from the pan and set aside on a paper towel to drain.
Drain all but 1Tbs. bacon fat, if you have that much in the pot.

Raise the heat to medium-high.
Add the prawns to the pot and sear on one side for 2 minutes.
Flip and sear 30 more seconds. Remove prawns from the pot and set aside.
Drain off any excess water

If you need to add a little oil (or bacon fat) to the pot, do so.
Add the onions to the pot and sauté 5 minutes.
Add the garlic, paprika, chipotle paste and a pinch of pepper.  Don't add salt - the bacon and chicken stock are salty already. Sauté another minute.

Add the corn kernels to the pot and toss to combine, saute another minute
Add the stock and cream to the pot. Stir to combine. Keep on a low simmer for 15 minutes. Check for seasoning
Blend half of the soup until it is creamy (either in the pot or remove half and blend separately).  Recombine and stir.

Add the prawns to the chowder and heat for a couple of minutes to warm up the prawns.

Serve with the bacon sprinkled over the top.
Slurp and pretend you live in a lighthouse somewhere in New England.  Flashbacks to Pete's Dragon anyone? 

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