February is National Potato Lovers Month and if you’re anything like me, you’ve never met a potato you didn’t like. In the South, most every meal is accompanied by one variation or another of the good old potato.
Before I became an adult, out on my own, I thought carbohydrates were mandatory at every meal. Growing up, if we sat down to supper without the bread basket, my dad would inevitably look at my mom and ask, “Where’s the bread?” Even if Mom hadn’t made biscuits, Dad would want the “light bread” on the table. I came to understand that “light bread” meant a loaf of sandwich bread. To this day, I’m still not sure why he calls it that.
In moderation, potatoes are actually packed with nutrition. Did you know, a medium-sized potato has no fat, no cholesterol and contains only 110 calories? Potatoes are also a good source of Vitamin C and fiber. They have more potassium than a banana, which is essential for maintaining proper muscle function.
A star ingredient in my Wild Georgia Shrimp & Corn Chowder, I like to use the Russet or Yukon Gold variety of potatoes. This is a dish I make for my husband and I often when I get home from work, or on a Saturday for an extra special weekend lunch. It comes together quickly and is a hearty meal served with crusty bread and a cold glass of sweet tea.
As many of you know, I love to make dishes that are locally sourced, using ingredients that are in season. This chowder is even more amazing in the summer months when the corn is sweet and the shrimp are fresh off the dock. The crunch of sweet corn with salty bacon and starchy potatoes come together in complete harmony with the succulent, plump shrimp. Creamy and pleasing to the eye with great texture, this dish epitomizes Some Kinda Good.
In 30-40 minutes, you can make this dish for your family, and be sitting down to a delicious meal. Good food and good company, that’s what it’s all about!
Wild Georgia Shrimp & Corn Chowder
• 3 slices of hardwood smoked bacon
• 2 stalks celery, thinly sliced
• 2 bunches of green onions, chopped
• 1/2 medium Vidalia onion, chopped
• 2 large baked potatoes such as Yukon Gold or Russet, peeled and diced
• 3 ears of fresh corn, sliced off the cob
• 3 sprigs thyme
• 2 bay leaves
• Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
• 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
• 1 quart whole or 2% milk
• 1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
• Old Bay, for seasoning shrimp
In a large skillet with a high rim, cook bacon on medium-high heat. Remove the bacon, leaving the rendered fat. Stir in the celery, green onions and Vidalia onions, potatoes and corn. Add the thyme, bay leaves, 1/2 teaspoon salt and a few grinds of pepper and cook, stirring, 3 minutes. Stir in the flour until incorporated, about 2 minutes. Stir in the milk, then cover and bring to a boil. Uncover, reduce the heat to medium low and gently simmer until the vegetables are tender, about 6 minutes. Discard the thyme sprigs and bay leaves. Season the shrimp with Old Bay. Stir in the shrimp and cook until opaque, about 4 minutes. Season with salt. Divide among bowls and sprinkle with green onion and chopped bacon. Serve with Italian bread.
Georgia native Rebekah Faulk Lingenfelser is a food enthusiast, writer and the cooking show host of SKG-TV on YouTube. The personality behind the blog, SomeKindaGood.com, she is a public relations graduate of Georgia Southern University and attended Savannah Technical College’s Culinary Institute of Savannah. Search Facebook for Some Kinda Good or tweet her @SKGFoodBlog.