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 and Mushrooms with Garlic Mojo

shrimpby Karen Frazier

I know – more mushrooms. Like I said in an earlier post, fall is the perfect time to find delicious seasonal mushrooms, so I take advantage of the bounty. Plus, I love mushrooms. If you don’t care for them, go ahead and leave them out of this delicious paleo recipe.

I use a modified version of Rick Bayless’s garlic mojo. Make the mojo ahead of time, and keep it tightly sealed in the refrigerator for several weeks. Then, use the garlic mojo in the recipe.

Garlic Mojo

  • 1 1/2 cups peeled garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 cups extra virgin olive oil (or some type of melted animal fat, if you prefer)
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • Juice of three limes
  • 1/4 teaspoon chipotle chili powder
  1. Preheat your oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. In a square glass pan (8×8″), spread the garlic along the bottom of the pan. Pour the olive oil or fat over the top. Add the salt and stir to combine, making sure all of the cloves are completely covered with oil. If they aren’t, add a little more oil or remove a few garlic cloves.
  3. Bake in the preheated oven until the garlic begins to turn golden, 45 to 50 minutes.
  4. Remove the garlic from the oven and stir in the lime juice and chipotle.
  5. Return the pan to the oven and continue baking for an additional 20 minutes.
  6. Remove the garlic mojo from the oven and mash the garlic cloves with a potato masher or a fork.
  7. Allow the garlic mojo to cool completely and then put it in a container that seals tightly. Refrigerate for up to 90 days. Be sure the garlic remains submerged in oil when you store it.

Shrimp and Mushrooms with Garlic Mojo

  • 1/4 cup garlic mojo, divided
  • 1 pound of shrimp, peeled and deveined with tails removed
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 8 ounces button mushrooms, sliced (use any kind you wish)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Juice of one lime
  • 1/8 teaspoon chipotle chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 recipe guacamole
  • 1 recipe pico di gallo (recipe follows)
  • Several large lettuce leaves
  1. Stir the garlic mojo before measuring it.
  2. In a large saute pan, heat two tablespoons of the garlic mojo over medium-high heat. Add the shrimp and cook until it turns pink, about six minutes.
  3. Remove the shrimp with a slotted spoon and set it aside on a platter.
  4. Add the remaining two tablespoons of garlic mojo to the sauté pan. Add the onion and mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until they are soft and begin to brown, six to eight minutes.
  5. Return the shrimp and any juices that have collected on the platter to the sauté pan.
  6. Add the lime juice, chipotle chili and sea salt. Cook, stirring constantly, until the shrimp heats through, about four minutes.
  7. Serve the garlic mojo using the lettuce leaves as tortillas. Top with guacamole and pico de gallo.

Pico de Gallo

  • 1 large tomato, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • 1/2 red onion, chopped
  • 1 small jalapeño, seeded and chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • Juice of one lime
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt

Mix all the ingredients together in a small bowl.

photo credit: Rene Venturoso via photopin cc

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.

Delicious Things to Do with Shrimp

shrimpShrimp is a great protein to work with. It’s naturally low in fat, easy to handle, and has a sweetness that even people who aren’t fish fanatics enjoy. While it can be a bit expensive, there are ways to allay the cost. For example, purchasing it unpeeled and peeling it yourself is cheaper than purchasing it peeled and deveined.

Most of the shrimp you find in the grocery store is pre-frozen. It holds up well to flash freezing, and I’ve found that often the difference between the bags in the freezer section and the shrimp at the fish counter is they’ve thawed it for you. Once thawed, you need to use it pretty quickly. That’s why I buy the bags and thaw them myself when I’m ready.

Preparing to cook shrimp is easy. Take the bag out of the freezer, leave it sealed, and place it in a sink of cold water. Change the water every 30 minutes until the shrimp is thawed. Next, pull the shrimp out of the bag and give it a quick rinse to remove any remaining ice crystals. Let it drain in a colander for a few minutes, and then peel and devein it. There is a small vein that runs along the back of each shrimp. Just slit the membrane above the vein with a sharp knife, pull it out, and rinse it away.

Shrimp has an affinity for garlic. The bite of the garlic blends beautifully with the sweet, salty flesh of the shrimp. For a quick meal, heat a little olive oil in a pan, toss in the shrimp for a few minutes until they pink, and then toss in garlic for about 30 seconds. Taste for seasoning, and add salt if necessary.

I have several favorite ways to prepare shrimp.

First, I really like grilling it on sugarcane skewers. You can purchase sugar cane swizzle sticks online at Melissa’s Produce and cut them into small skewers. Grilling the shrimp on the sugarcane enhances the sweetness, and only takes a few moments over a hot, oiled grill. As soon as the shrimp turns pink, I glaze them with a rum based glaze containing equal parts rum and sugar, a little dijon mustard, some cinnamon, a dash of vinegar, and turn or two of fresh cracked pepper. I simmer those ingredients together until syrupy and taste for seasoning. Once brushed on the shrimp, I allow it contact with the heat for just about a minute a side.

Baked scampi makes an amazing blend of flavors between shrimp, garlic, and citrus. I marinate my shrimp for a few minutes at room temperature in a mixture of white wine and olive oil at a 2:3 ratio with a little black pepper. While the shrimp marinates, I combine softened butter; bread crumbs (I prefer panko); minced garlic, shallot,  parsley and rosemary; lemon zest, and an egg yolk into a crumbly topping. I spread the topping on the shrimp in a baking dish and bake it at 425 degrees for about 10 minutes until the shrimp pinks. Then, I blast it under the broiler for a minute or two to make the topping crunchy. This is delicious served on angel hair pasta.

If you like Mexican flavors, I make shrimp mojo de ajo with mushrooms. To create the mojo de ajo, place a saucepan with 1 to 2 cups of extra virgin olive oil on the stove top on the lowest temperature you can get it. I actually make the heat even less direct by placing a ring of rolled foil between the bottom of the pan and the burner. Add several cloves of chopped garlic (about one head per cup of oil), and allow it to simmer (but never boil) on the stovetop for an hour or longer. This gently cooks the garlic, making it extremely sweet and flavors the oil. Add a pinch of chipotle for a hit of spice. Saute quartered button mushrooms on the stovetop until they begin to brown and then add the shrimp. Once shrimp begins to pink, add the garlic and olive oil mix to finish cooking. Add a squeeze of lime juice. I serve this with tortillas, rice, pico de gallo, guacamole, and sour cream so people can build their own burritos.  Making homemade guacamole is easy. Chop two soft avocados and add one minced jalapeno (no seeds), 1/2 minced red onion, a few tablespoons of chopped cilantro, a squeeze of lime juice, a pinch of salt, and a minced clove of garlic (or put through the garlic press). Stir, keeping some avocado chunks in the mix, and taste for seasoning.

Wines for shrimp: Shrimp has an affinity for crisp, mineral whites. I really like a good German Riesling with all of these recipes, because the acidity holds up well to the spices and sweetness of the shrimp. Try a Kabinett Riesling, or for something a little sweeter, try a Spatlese.