Friday, February 6, 2015

Corn Chowder with Bacon and Shrimp

 Corn Chowder with Bacon and Shrimp 
Cook's notes: A creamy chowder that's incredibly smoky, sweet and packed with tons of flavor. Lump crab meat can be substituted for the shrimp. No need to thaw shrimp or corn. Serves 4 and suggested sides include savory puff pastry 
or  Buttermilk Cheddar Bacon Bread.
recipe inspired by Southern Living Soups and Stews 2014
  • 4 slices of bacon
  • 1-1/2 TB. olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 cups Yukon or red potatoes, diced 
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 3/4 cup frozen cooked shrimp
  • 1-2 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp. dried oregano  
  • 1/2 tsp. dried basil
  • pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 2 TB. flour
  • 4-1/2 cups chicken stock,low sodium
  • 12 oz. bag of frozen corn or 3 cups
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2-3 TB. heavy cream
  • Heat a large stockpot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Cook bacon until crispy. Transfer to a paper towel lined plate, cool and dice meat.
  • Wipe pan clean, heat olive oil and saute onion, garlic and celery about 3 minutes. Add in 2 TB. of flour and brown about 1 minute. 
  • Stir in oregano, basil, paprika and red pepper flakes until fragrant about 1-2 minutes.
  • Whisk in chicken stock, frozen corn, cubed potatoes and bay leaf. Simmer uncovered 15 minutes or until potatoes are done. Discard bay leaf. Whisk in cream and blend well. 
  • Remove 1/3 cup of soup mixture and puree in blender or use an immersion blender. Return mixture back to soup pot. Add in frozen shrimp and cook 4-5 minutes longer.   
  • Garnish soup with bacon bits. Serve with oyster crackers.  
Ever Ready will feature occasionally some of the best poets, artists and literary figures in the Southwest region. 
Alberto Álvaro Ríos (born September 18, 1952 in Nogales, Arizona ) is the author of ten books and chapbooks of poetry, three collections of short stories, and a memoir.
In August 2013, Rios was named Arizona's first state poet laureate, a position he held until 2015.
Here is what the review committee had to say about Rios.
“This candidate has impressive experience with community outreach, is a fantastic performer and speaker who is able to get people to think about poetry in a whole new way. Alberto is thoughtful in his community work and has proven himself to be a strong public figure and advocate for poetry in Arizona.” They also offered, “Ríos was born and educated here in Arizona, and has contributed to Arizona communities for decades. If ever there was a poet who personified Arizona’s values, it is Alberto."

How gratifying for Rios to receive so many affirmations for his work.  
The Sheet Music of Place 
by Alberto Rios

The river through its centuries has made a line on this place,
A child's line, wanting to be straight but distracted at every move,

A little left, a little fast, around a big rock, sliding straight away
Through sand, this crawling, leaden line echoing

The line made by the tops of the mountains in silhouette against the sky.
The railroad track makes another line, a double line-

The highway, too, and the telephone poles strung with wire.
All these lines work in sure if uneasy concert

Written on the arid air of this place, which has made everything
Dry and white,off-white, some darks but on their way to white,

All this landscape a great and delicate paper.

These lines make a musical staff borrowed from the world of dream,
The world that then fills these lines with its profundo notations,

The careful placement of one moving thing next to another,
The train engine and its cars-those drudging bass notes,

Birds everywhere in their thrill, 64th notes every one,
Everything scored onto the pages of this world suddenly heard.

Day and night, that ceaseless baton, unforgiving metronome:
Bees lumber along but their work is to stop, whole stops and half,

Busy at their honeying, these respites of work, these moments loud
Too-resting the ear so as to hear composed this place into music- 
Every sound a new performance of the great song of this world.

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