This hearty chowder is one of the best comfort food soups I’ve had. It achieved the miracle status of actually being eaten by everyone in my family (minus a few shrimps from my child who doesn’t like them). But everyone enjoyed it, slurped it, and dipped toasted baguette pieces in it.
Shrimp with chorizo is a wonderful flavor combination. The smokiness from the paprika-packed chorizo blends with the shrimp, and the broth is just next level delicious.
I will dream of this broth!
Start-to-finish, this soup is only a 45-minute project and tastes like it should be an all-day simmering affair. Trust me when I say it should be on your to-make list as soon as possible!
What Makes a Soup a Chowder?
There’s no one agreed-upon definition of what can be called a chowder, but to me it’s important that a chowder has potato and some sort of creamy broth. Some maintain that chowder needs to have pork or some form of dairy. Thanks to half and half and the pork-based chorizo, this recipe hits all the marks of a chowder.
The Best Chorizo For This Recipe
This is an important one. There are two types of chorizo: Spanish chorizo, which is a low-moisture cured salami-style product that’s ready to eat, and Mexican chorizo, which is raw, loose spiced ground pork. You 100 percent want the Spanish chorizo for this chowder. It cubes nicely and has a deep paprika flavor.
You can find Spanish chorizo at many well-stocked grocery stores these days. Boar’s Head makes a good, widely available version of Spanish chorizo, so look out for that one.
Building Soup Flavor Through Layers
You can’t make a soup this good by plopping all these ingredients in a pot and simmering them together. While that will make a soup, it won’t have the same depth of flavor (and your shrimp will be massively overcooked).
Instead, the way to build delicious flavors in soups is to think about adding your ingredients in layers. The first layer in this soup is the chorizo, which flavors and colors the oil you brown it in. Then the second layer is the aromatics like onions, garlic, and carrots. Cook those to bring out more flavor.
Then you add the potatoes, broth, tomatoes, and spices. This is the simmering layer of the soup and combines all the flavors.
Finally you finish the soup with some corn, half & half, and shrimp. That rounds out the soup and you’ll be left with an incredible broth that is perfect for bread dipping!
When to Add the Shrimp
Shrimp cook very quickly, and if you overcook them they get rubbery and weird. In a chowder like this, they should be the very last thing you add to the pot and they will only need to cook for a few minutes to be cooked through.
What to Serve With This Chowder
This is a hearty soup with lots of stuff in it, so there’s no need to go crazy on garnishes or accompaniments. I like to garnish this chowder with a little fresh parsley and serve it with toasted baguette for dipping.
The broth in this chowder is SO good when you dip crusty bread in it. It’s amazing and my favorite part of the soup.