Food & Drink

One-pot Carolina Shrimp Soup welcomes fall weather, time-crunched weeknights

North Carolina Shrimp Soup for Mad About Food column. Photographed in southeast Cedar Rapids, Iowa on Saturday, Sept. 28, 2019. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)
North Carolina Shrimp Soup for Mad About Food column. Photographed in southeast Cedar Rapids, Iowa on Saturday, Sept. 28, 2019. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)
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This season the kids return to school, football has begun and the perfect weather for soup is here. I love one-pot wonders and soup is one of my favorites because it is a delicious and cost effective way to feed multitudes with little effort.

Most soup recipes are composed of flavorful ingredients that mesh together in a simple yet delicious medley that dances on your palate, sending endorphins to your brain, and setting off that warm and comfortable feeling we all associate with home. The test of comfort foods is the taste, the look and the love put into them. This Carolina Shrimp Soup is no exception. It delivers flavor, vibrant colors and healthy for you.

Its presentation is rustic yet beautiful. It’s a great addition to any Sunday dinner, potluck or as a meal prep option. As with most of my recipes, this soup is very versatile. Don’t be afraid to add or replace ingredients. You can use peppered bacon, replace the shrimp with andouille sausage or replace the kale with spinach. Smoked turkey wings is a nice edition as well. Of course, adding and or subtracting ingredients will change the name, flavor and integrity of the soup, but isn’t that what culinary art is all about? You have to be adventurous when it comes to food. There are so many possibilities, and so many varieties, tastes and textures to play with, why not step out of your comfort zone?

I love this soup because it brings ingredients together that don’t seem to mesh. Shrimp, bacon, red peppers and garlic is not uncommon together but the kale and black-eyed peas bring a whole new element to the other ingredients. These simple southern ingredients offers a party for your mouth.

My caution is to not overcook the ingredients. I also prefer frozen or dried peas verses the can, because I like to add my own seasoning. I did put canned peas in this recipe because not everyone likes to do everything from scratch, which takes extra time, and some people are culinary challenged or just not that patient. Another reason is because the can peas are virtually fool proof. They are already at the perfect tenderness and you can find many varieties of flavors. The goal is to make it taste like you labored in love for hours when in reality it took hardly any time or effort at all.

I like “wow factors.” I like to bring dishes that make people curious and cautious at the same time. That makes for a pleasant and memorable experience for all. Preparing the Carolina Shrimp Soup will make you feel like a real chef (LOL). I love pretending that Im on a cooking show as Im preparing meals and desserts, and making food look, smell and taste like a masterpiece! Im all about lasting impressions and what better way to do it than with food? Now let’s roll up those sleeves, wash our hands and get started creating your own version of culinary art with Carolina Shrimp Soup.

Carolina Shrimp Soup

4 teaspoons olive oil, divided

1 pound uncooked shrimp (31 to 40 per pound), peeled and deveined

5 garlic cloves, minced

1 bunch kale, trimmed and coarsely chopped

1 medium sweet red pepper, cut into ¾-inch pieces

3 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth

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1 can (15½ ounces) black-eyed peas, rinsed and drained

Salt to taste

Pepper to taste

4 thick cut bacon strips cooked and chopped

Minced fresh chives, optional

In a stockpot, heat 2 teaspoons oil over medium-high heat. Crisp bacon and remove from pot. Add shrimp; cook and stir 2 minutes. Add garlic; cook just until shrimp turn pink, 1 to 2 minutes longer. Remove from pot.

In same pot, heat remaining oil over medium-high heat. Stir in kale and red pepper; cook, covered, until kale is tender, stirring occasionally, 8 to 10 minutes. Add broth; bring to a boil. Stir in peas, salt, pepper, bacon and shrimp; heat through. If desired, sprinkle servings with chives.

Source: Michelle Madden

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