Chupe de Camarones

The long Lima winter puts a premium on soups and other dishes that warm the belly as well as the soul. A particular favorite of mine in Chupe de Camarones which is very similar in taste and preparation to corn and crab bisque from South Louisiana.

The dish is actually one of the seven soups of the week served in the Southern Peruvian city of Arequipa. It is often known as "the white city" due to the type of rock many of the buildings are made of. It's volcanic rock - thus porous and, allied with the 7,600 plus feet of elevation, damn cold.

So a soup for every day makes a lot of sense and this one is a great one to start with. Chupe de Camarones is a rich filling affair that makes you wish you could eat two bowls although it is pushing it to get through one.

  • 2 lbs shrimp, with shells and heads
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 small red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon aji panca chili paste
  • 1 teaspoon aji amarillo chili paste
  • 1 cup peas, either fresh or frozen
  • 1/4 cup long-grain white rice
  • 1-2 ear of corn, cut into 1 1/2-inch chunks
  • 1 lb russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 1/2-inch chunks
  • 1 teaspoon salt (to taste)
  • 1/4-1/2 cup queso fresco, cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 1 cup evaporated milk
  • 1 tablespoon fresh oregano, chopped
  • 3 eggs

Remove heads and shells from shrimp, and refrigerate the shrimp. Put shells and heads in a medium saucepan, add water to cover, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes.

While shells are simmering, heat the olive oil in a large flameproof casserole over medium heat. Add onion and garlic, and cook for 2 minutes, stirring. Stir in the aji panca (or tomato paste) and aji amarillo pastes. Reduce heat to medium-low and continue cooking, stirring often, for 10 minutes, or until onion is softened.

Puree shrimp shells and cooking liquid. Strain mixture through a fine-mesh strainer into a bowl and reserve the liquid (solids can be discarded). Measure out the liquid and add enough water to make 4 cups.

Add shrimp broth to onion mixture and bring to a boil. Stir in peas, rice and corn chunks. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes.

Add potatoes and salt. Continue cooking until potatoes and rice are just tender (approx 10 minutes more). Add shrimp and queso fresco. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until shrimp is just cooked through, about 4 minutes (shrimp should be pink).

Stir in the evaporated milk and oregano. Continue cooking and stirring. When the soup begins boiling again, Crack the eggs into the soup, spacing them so they remain separate in the soup. If you prefer, you can beat the eggs together in a bowl before adding them to the soup instead).

When eggs are cooked, soup is finished.

posted by kleph @ wednesday, may 23, 2007 $formatted_time |

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