Paleo Spicy Shrimp Chowder with Coconut and Sweet Potatoes

shrimp chowderby Karen Frazier

I’ve probably mentioned this in my blog about a zillion times now, but I’m super allergic to dairy products. In fact, I re-discovered just how allergic I am on Christmas Eve when I dipped a piece of lobster in a tiny bit of butter. I’ve been paying for it for the past two days.

Still, I love chowder. I love its rich creaminess paired with seafood. I love it so much, I almost feel like I’d be willing to suffer the wrath of dairy for it. However, after Christmas Eve, I am reminded that really, no bite of food is worth all of that. And so, I had to come up with a way to make a delicious creamy seafood chowder without dairy and without a grain-based roux to thicken it.

I just made this chowder, and it’s pretty darn tasty if I do say so myself. Yesterday I prepared some homemade chicken broth, which I made from chicken feet (creepy looking!), chicken necks, onion trimmings, rosemary, and a few other ingredients. I refrigerated it overnight, and then skimmed the fat from its surface this morning. I used the defatted stock to make this delicious shrimp chowder. The recipe yields about six to eight servings, depending on how much you eat. For me, it makes eight servings. For Jim, it’s six or fewer. Anyway – based on eight servings it has around 230 calories, 8 grams of fat, 9 net grams of carbs (unless you leave out the sweet potatoes or pick around them like I do), and 28 grams of protein. To make it lower in carbs, leave out the sweet potato.

Spicy Shrimp Chowder with Coconut and Sweet Potatoes

  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 jalapeño, seeded and chopped
  • 1 Anaheim pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1 piquillo pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 6 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • Juice of one lime
  • 6 cups chicken stock
  • 1 tablespoon paleo fish sauce (I use Red Boat)
  • 1white sweet potato, cubed
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 2 pounds shrimp, peeled, deveined, and tails removed
  • 1/2 cup arrowroot powder
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 (14 ounce) can full-fat coconut milk
  • Sriracha or red pepper flakes to taste (optional)
  • Sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper to taste
  1. In a large soup pot, melt the coconut oil over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Add the onions and all of the peppers. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are soft and beginning to brown, seven to ten minutes.
  2. Add the garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until it is fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  3. Add the lime juice, chicken stock, and fish sauce, stirring to scrape any browned bits off the bottom of the pot.
  4. Add the sweet potatoes and carrots and bring the soup to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer until the potatoes and carrots are tender, about 20 minutes.
  5. Add the shrimp and cook, stirring occasionally, until it is pink, 5 to 10 minutes more (five if it’s thawed, about ten if it’s frozen).
  6. In a small bowl, combine the arrowroot powder with the water and whisk to make a slurry. Pour the slurry into the soup, stirring constantly. Simmer until the soup thickens.
  7. Stir in the coconut milk, sriracha or red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper. Taste and adjust seasonings as desired.

Photo used under flickr creative commons license. Some rights reserved by InSinU8.

Shrimp Tequila Chowder

shrimp tequila chowderI reverse engineered this from Azteca Restaurants Shrimp Diablo Chowder. I think it’s pretty close, and very delicious!

Shrimp Tequila Chowder

  • 1 lb shrimp, peeled, deveined, tails removed, and cut into fourths
  • 1/2 cup tequila, divided
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • 3 cloves garlic, put through a garlic press
  • 3 tablespoons oil or butter
  • One onion, diced
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
  • 1 carrot, peeled and diced
  • 3 tablespoons flour (use sweet rice flour for gluten-free)
  • 4 cups gluten-free chicken stock
  • 1 can Rotelle (tomatoes and peppers)
  • 1 can crisp summer corn, drained
  • 1 lb red potatoes, cubed
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/4 teaspoon chipoltle
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried cumin
  • 3 tablespoons corn starch, dissolved into 3 tablespoons chicken stock
  • Salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste
  1. Combine 1/4 cup tequila, lime juice, and garlic in a small bowl. Toss with shrimp and set aside.
  2. Heat oil or butter in a soup pot.
  3. Add onions, jalapeno, and carrots. Saute until carrots are soft, about 5 minutes.
  4. Add flour and stir until raw flour flavor is gone – about four minutes.
  5. Stir in remaining 1/4 cup tequila, scraping up any bits on bottom of pan.
  6. Add chicken stock, Rotelle, corn, potatoes, cream, cumin, and chipoltle.
  7. Bring to a simmer and cook until potatoes are tender.
  8. Stir in corn starch slurry.
  9. Remove shrimp from marinade and stir into soup.
  10. Taste for seasoning and add salt, pepper, and additional chipoltle to taste.

Here’s the chowder with a paleo makeover (although tequila is not technically paleo). If you’re watching carbs, this version has about 12 grams of carbs per serving (it serves 8). Leave out the celeriac and it has about 10 grams of carbs per serving.

  • 1 lb shrimp, peeled, deveined, tails removed, and cut into fourths
  • 1/2 cup tequila, divided
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • 3 cloves garlic, put through a garlic press
  • 3 tablespoons fat (I use duck fat)
  • 1 pound grass fed chorizo (I use bison chorizo from US Wellness Meats)
  • One onion, diced
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
  • 1 carrot, peeled and diced
  • 4 cups homemade chicken bone broth
  • 1 can organic, sugar-free tomatoes and peppers (or organic canned crushed tomatoes plus 1 small can organic diced jalapeños)
  • 1 lb celeriac, peeled and cubed
  • 1/4 teaspoon chipoltle
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried cumin
  • 1/4 cup arrowroot powder, dissolved into 1/4 cup water
  • Salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste
  1. Combine 1/4 cup tequila, lime juice, and garlic in a small bowl. Toss with shrimp and set aside.
  2. Heat fat in a soup pot.
  3. Add chorizo and cook until it is browned. Remove it from the fat with a slotted spoon and set it aside on a platter.
  4. Cook the onions, jalapeno, and carrots in the fat that remains in the pan. Saute until carrots are soft, about 5 minutes.
  5. Stir in the remaining 1/4 cup tequila, scraping up any bits on bottom of pan.
  6. Add chicken broth, tomatoes and peppers, celeriac, cumin, and chipoltle.
  7. Bring to a simmer and cook until celeriac is tender.
  8. Stir in the arrowroot slurry.
  9. Remove shrimp from marinade and stir into soup. Return the chorizo to the pot.
  10. Taste for seasoning and add salt, pepper, and additional chipoltle to taste.

Clam Chowder

chowderI love  making soups because it’s just so darn difficult to go wrong, and with a simple base, you can change the ingredients around and have something completely different. Soup is also inexpensive, satisfying, and you can make large batches to freeze for use on days when you don’t have time to cook. Soups are also a great way to sneak veggies to picky eaters, and you can make them light or heavy.

Right now, I’ve got a big pot of clam chowder simmering on my stove. Chowders are incredibly easy to make, and to adapt for personal taste. For instance, if you don’t like clams you could turn it into a shrimp, lobster, shellfish, or even corn chowder. With a clean and neutral flavor base, you can also change up the herbs and seasonings you use. Tonight’s chowder has a non-traditional mirepoix. Instead of using carrots, celery, and onions for it, I used carrots, onions, and fennel – which is a terrific replacement for celery. It has a licorice like flavor that I really love.

My clam chowder is pretty easy.

  1. I start with several slices of pepper bacon – and saute it in my soup pot until it is crispy.
  2. Next, I add chopped onion, fennel, and carrots, and saute them until they are soft.
  3. I turn my bacon and veggies into a roux, adding about 1/4 cup of flour (or sweet rice flour for gluten-free) for every 3 cups of stock I will add. I let the raw flour flavor cook off, stirring, for about two minutes.
  4. Then, I add gluten-free chicken stock. As I add the stock, I scrape my pan with my spoon to get all of the flavor that is sitting in the bottom in the form of browning on the pan.
  5. As the broth thickens and starts to simmer, I add cubed red potatoes (skin on) and give it a good stir.
  6. I add a little fresh cracked pepper and some thyme.
  7. I let the broth simmer until the potatoes are soft – about 10-15 minutes depending on the size.
  8. I add clams – either canned or fresh and stir them until they are cooked through – about five minutes for raw, or just a minute or two for cooked clams.
  9. I taste and add seasoning (salt, additional pepper if needed).
  10. I swirl in a little bit of cream (eliminate for dairy-free).

That’s it. Ten easy steps. You can change up veggies and herbs to your preference. You can add more vegetables for a chunky chowder, or less for a thinner one.

Sweet Corn Chowder

cornchowderOne of my favorite weekend activities is a trip through the farmers’ market. I enjoy watching the produce offerings change throughout the seasons, starting with tender baby greens in early spring, progressing to glistening berries in June, to colorful vegetables like radishes and carrots throughout the summer, finally winding down to fragrant apples, squash, pumpkins and heartier winter vegetables in October and November. Regular walks through the farmer’s market show you the natural progression of the food harvest cycle, and allow you to find ways to eat seasonally as earlier generations must have done in the days before produce was shipped all across the country and available year-round.

This week’s offerings are among my favorite of the summer. Ears of sweet corn, small red potatoes, sweet onions, fennel, colorful heirloom tomatoes, cucumbers, green beans, and summer squash. Finding corn on the cob at the farmer’s market is bittersweet. It means the end of summer is quickly approaching, giving way to the crisp days of autumn and the start of the new school year. In a month or so, my urge to cook apples will kick in, and my kitchen will be filled with applesauce, pie, and spicy, crunchy apple crisp.

I have found the perfect meal to make the most of the seasonal vegetables available at the farmer’s market right now. While sweet corn is, of course, amazing by itself on the cob, tossed on the grill, and then lightly buttered, if you’re looking for another way to serve it while incorporating much of the other seasonal bounty, then I suggest making a sweet corn chowder.

Sweet Corn Chowder

Ingredients

  • 1/2 pound thick cut pepper bacon, diced
  • 2 sweet onions, diced
  • One carrot, peeled and diced
  • One stalk fennel, diced (if you don’t like fennel, you can replace this with celery)
  • 1/4 cup flour (or sweet rice flour for gluten-free)
  • 8 cups gluten-free chicken stock
  • Diced red potatoes (2-3 medium or several small)
  • 2 Tbsp. chopped fresh thyme
  • 1/8 to 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes (or to taste – this is optional, but I like a little kick in the chowder to complement the sweet)
  • 4 ears sweet corn, husked and cut from cob, with juices reserved.
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream (optional – eliminate for dairy free)
  • Salt and fresh cracked black pepper to taste

Method

  1. In a large stock pot, cook bacon until it is crisp. Remove the bacon from the pan with a slotted spoon, leaving the oil. Reduce heat to medium high.
  2. Add onion, carrots and fennel to the pan and saute stirring occasionally until vegetables soften and start to caramelize, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add flour to the vegetables and stir constantly to keep it from sticking, about 2-3 minutes.
  4. Add chicken stock, scraping the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to remove any brown bits on the bottom. Stir constantly for a few minutes until flour and liquid are well combined and liquid starts to simmer and thicken slightly.
  5. Add potatoes, thyme, and red pepper flakes. Reduce heat and simmer until potatoes soften, about 1o to 15 minutes.
  6. Add bacon, sweet corn and juices and simmer for a few minutes to soften corn and incorporate flavors.
  7. Add heavy cream, and stir to incorporate.
  8. Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper to taste.

Serve the chowder with a crusty bread and a dry Riesling (Columbia Cellermaster’s Riesling is a great choice), unoaked Chardonnay, or a Pinot Grigio.