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Peruvian Shrimp Chowder (Chupe de Camarones)

This creamy chowder if full of everything I love to eat: cream, shellfish, chile peppers, cheese, and potatoes. Oh, Peruvian food, why are you so delicious?
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 45 mins
Servings 4

Ingredients
  

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1.5 cups roughly chopped onion, from 1 medium onion
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tablespoon of finely chopped garlic, from 3 large cloves
  • 1 teaspoon powdered cumin
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 4 cups shrimp broth
  • 1 cup crushed tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon ají amarillo paste
  • 1 tablespoon ají panca paste
  • 3.5 cups of cubed yukon potatoes, from 2 large potatoes
  • 1 pound of cleaned shrimp
  • 1 cup of peas
  • 1 large handful of spinach
  • handful of roughly chopped cilantro
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • salt to taste, you will need to add a lot so don't freak out
  • 4 fried eggs, one for each bowl*
  • 4 oz of queso fresco crumbled and divided on each bowl

Instructions
 

  • On medium high, heat fats in a heavy bottom pot. Add chopped onion and pinch of salt and sauté until translucent and soft, about 10 minutes. Lower heat as necessary to avoid browning the onions. Add chopped garlic and sauté for an additional 3 minutes on medium heat. Then lower head and add cumin and oregano and cook about 2 more minutes.
  • Add shrimp broth, crushed tomatoes, and Peruvian chile pastes. Bring soup to a boil, then lower heat to lowest setting. Add cubed potatoes and let cook covered until tender, about 20 minutes.
  • Once potatoes cooked through, add shrimp, spinach, and cilantro and cook until shrimp turn bright red, about 3 minutes. Turn off the heat and slowly pour in heavy cream. Stir. Now is when you should taste and adjust. Adding enough salt is necessary to achieve a great flavor, so if it tastes a bit flat, add more. Also, adjust the spice level with more of the chile pastes if desired.
  • Ladle chowder into bowls and garnish with fried egg and crumbled queso fresco, serve immediately.

Notes

  1. *If you prefer to skip frying the egg separately you can add them directly to the pot and let them poach undisturbed for 3-4 minutes before adding the shrimp. Hard boiled eggs are another option to frying.