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Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Shrimp with fennel and leek soup

This is a delectable soup. It starts by chopping up three leeks, just the white and light green parts. Then a good sized fennel bulb. I chopped these so that there are no long strings. I wanted everything to be a good bight-sized. I sauteed these in 4 tbs of butter with a little salt and fresh ground pepper. Not too much. While this was cooking up, I peeled and diced a pound of potatoes. I used white potatoes as they stay rather firm and don't fall apart in a soup.

After the leeks and fennel have cooked for a few minutes, looking to begin to brown, add two heaping tablespoons (I used soup spoons) of flour and stir these in vigorously. This is going to give some strength to your broth. Stir and cook for about a minute or two.

To this, add two bottles of clam juice and two cups of milk. Stir this well to get the flour mixed in. Then add the potatoes and bring to a boil. As soon as it boils, reduce the heat and simmer for about 12 to 15 minutes until the potatoes are "al dente", another words, not mushy.

While this is taking place, shell one pound of medium-sized shrimp. I bought shrimp that was de-veined but still had the shell on. It was a decent price and a pretty nice size. After I removed the shells, I rinsed them and then cut them in half. I like lots of bite-sized pieces instead of a few big shrimp. By cutting them in half, I have a lot of shrimp chunks - "one in every bite!"

When the potatoes are ready, add the shrimp and a bag of frozen sweet corn. Cook for about 5 to 7 minutes, until the shrimp are cooked and the potatoes are perfect to the teeth.

I wanted to put in fresh parsley. The original recipe called for two tablespoons. Right. After I finished chopping the entire bunch, what a wonderful smell, I put in probably half a cup. It was a far cry from 2 tbs. But it looks good and the taste is wonderful. I also added the juice of a nice big lemon.

I decided that the soup was a little loose and I wanted it to be thick. So I added about a half cup of flour and stirred the soup vigorously so as to thicken the broth. I tested for salt and added a bit with some fresh ground pepper.

Tomorrow, for lunch at work, I am going to be the happiest employee. This is another great soup. And really, if you prepare all the ingredients in advance, it takes maybe 20 minutes to get that all done and the rest is easy. This is a very uncomplicated soup.

Imagine placing s piece of toast from homemade bread in a bowl and spooning this over it. Heaven.

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