Chupe de Camarones
(Peruvian shrimp chowder)
Chupes are hearty chowders popular along South America's Pacific coast from Chile to Peru. Chupe de camarones is a Peruvian classic made with shrimp and vegetables and is substantial enough to make a full meal.
4 to 6 servings
- Oil -- 3 tablespoons
- Red onion, finely chopped -- 1
- Ají amarillo or other chile pepper, minced -- 1 or 2
- Garlic, minced -- 3 to 5 cloves
- Ground ají rojo or paprika -- 1 tablespoon
- Stock or water -- 4 cups
- Potatoes, peeled, cut into small chunks -- 2 large
- Peas -- 1 cup
- Lima or other beans, cooked -- 1 cup
- Corn kernels -- 1 cup
- Rice -- 1/2 cup
- Oregano -- 2 teaspoons
- Salt and pepper -- to taste
- Shrimp, peeled and deveined -- 1 pound
- Eggs, beaten -- 3
- Evaporated milk or heavy cream -- 1 cup
- Queso fresco cheese, grated -- 1 cup
- Heat the oil in a large pot over medium-high flame. Add the onion and chile pepper and saute until the onion is translucent, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the garlic and ají rojo or paprika and saute for another minute or so.
- Stir in the stock or water, potatoes, peas, beans, corn, rice, oregano, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for about 15 minutes. Stir in the shrimp and beaten eggs and simmer for another 5 minutes or so.
- Remove the pot from heat and stir in the evaporated milk or cream and the grated cheese. Adjust seasoning to taste and serve hot in bowls.
Chupe de Camarones Variations
- Stock: Ideally, chupe de camarones is given extra flavor by using a stock made from shells and heads of the shrimp. Buy shell-on shrimp with the heads, and when you peel them, add the heads and shells to a saucepan with 4 cups of water. Bring to a boil and then simmer for about 20 minutes to extract all of the flavor. Strain the shrimp stock and discard the solids. Use this stock for your chupe. Or for even more flavor, after simmering the shells and heads, you can add them to a blender with a little of the stock and puree. Strain this puree through a fine-meshed sieve back into the stock.
- Vegetables: Most Peruvians would use whole ears of corn (choclo) cut into smaller pieces for their chupe. You can also add fresh, peeled pumpkin, either in chunks or grated.
- Cheese: While a fresh cheese like queso fresco is most authentic for chupe de camarones, Monterey jack or 1/2 cup grated parmesan are suitable substitutes.
- Instead of stirring beaten egg into the chupe, try topping each portion with a poached or fried egg as a garnish.
- Chupe de Mariscos (Seafood chowder): Use a variety of shellfish and chunks of fish fillets instead of just shrimp. Clean the shellfish well, and stir everything into the simmering soup as you would the shrimp.