Easy Shrimp and Crab Chowder is a recipe that shows how real people cook. And real people often use convenience products to get the party started. Purist scratch cooks might balk. Go ahead, I say, protest all you want while I get dinner on the table.
This recipe calls for condensed cream of potato soup. There are days when I will spend all day in the kitchen making soup or stew in the most-time consuming ways. I love to do that. And then there’s Wednesday night (or Tuesday or Thursday) when hungry people want to eat RIGHT NOW. That’s when I turn to a recipe like Easy Shrimp and Crab Chowder. I make an ice-cold Caesar salad and call it dinner.
There is some wiggle room to put your own spin on this chowder. Sub the potato soup with celery, mushroom or chicken. Use shredded cooked chicken instead of the seafood. Omit the butter to saute the onions and instead dice and cook 3 slices of bacon and saute the onions in the rendered fat. (Fish out the cooked bacon and add back later.) Add thinly sliced celery to the onions as they saute. Use parsley to garnish instead of chives. Make it a bit spicier with pepper Jack cheese. You could even experiment with cutting the fat by using a mixture of low-fat milk and fat-free evaporated milk. Add some corn kernels? Heck, why not.
Make sure the onions are well-cooked before adding other ingredients otherwise they will be partially raw and too strong for a delicate soup. This is such a quick-cooking soup that the aromatics won’t have time to fully cook in the soup if you don’t give them a head start. I like to saute the shrimp before adding to the chowder. This helps the shellfish retain its flavor and the pink color seems more pronounced. (Save a few shrimp to add to the top of the soup before serving.)
Easy Shrimp and Crab Chowder would be a fine Christmas Eve offering, served in mugs for a casual starter. It would also be a lovely first-course for a formal sit-down dinner.
- 3 tablespoons butter, divided use
- 1 medium onion, diced small
- 3 (10 ¾ ounces) cans creamed of potato soup, undiluted
- 4 cups low-fat milk
- ¼ teaspoon ground red pepper
- 1½ pounds peeled, medium raw shrimp
- 1½ cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
- 8 ounces lump crab meat
- Garnishes: snipped chives, freshly ground black pepper, oyster crackers
- Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion and cook thoroughly, about 10 minutes.
- Stir in potato soup, milk, and pepper. Bring to a simmer, stirring.
- While soup is heating, melt remaining butter in a skillet. Saute shrimp until just pink. Remove from heat.
- Add cheese to soup and stir until melted. Stir in crab and add cooked shrimp
- Serve immediately with snipped chives, freshly ground pepper and oyster crackers.