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Peruvian Shrimp-and-Corn Chowder

In Peru, small streams wend their way from the mountains to the coast, and the delicious shrimp that fill them are cooked with local corn, squash, and potatoes to make this South American chowder called cupe. Don't peel the shrimp before cooking them in Step 1: The shells will flavor the cooking oil, which in turn will flavor the soup. the corn is traditionally left on the cob, but if the prospect of eating it this way (it is messy) bothers you, use two cups of kernels instead.

Plus: More Soup Recipes and Tips

  • Servings: 4

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  • 3 tablespoons cooking oil
  • 1 pound unpeeled medium shrimp
  • 3 teaspoons salt
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • Dash Tabasco sauce
  • 1 small butternut squash (about 1 1/2 pounds), peeled, halved lengthwise, seeded, and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1/2 small head green cabbage (about 1 1/4 pounds), chopped (about 1 quart)
  • 1 pound baking potatoes (about 2), peeled and cut into 1 1/2-inch chunks
  • 4 ears of corn, halved
  • 2 quarts water
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup frozen peas (optional)


  1. In a large pot, heat the oil over moderate heat. Add the shrimp and 1 teaspoon of the salt and cook, stirring frequently, until the shrimp are pink and firm, about 5 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon. When the shrimp are cool enough to handle, peel them and set aside.
  2. Add the onion, cayenne, paprika, cumin, and another teaspoon of the salt to the pot. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the Tabasco, squash, cabbage, potatoes, corn, and water to the pot. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, partially covered, until the potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes.
  3. Add the cream and simmer for 10 minutes. Stir in the peeled shrimp, the remaining teaspoon of salt, and the peas, if using. Cook until the shrimp are just heated through, about 2 minutes.

Suggested Pairing

We recommend the wines of Alsace again and again because they are so versatile, enhancing so many types of food. Here a Pinot Gris, nutty and rich, will have the body and flavor to beautifully highlight the soup.

Photo © Raymond Hom Published October 2012

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