It was a late December day and I had not yet made “the dish.” We have it every year during the holidays. And other times if I decide to make it. It is nothing fancy, but it is a big part of the holidays. While home alone one afternoon I started the process. It is not a 20 minute thrown together dinner. It takes time, planning and preparation.
I start a large pot of boiling water.
I peel and chop the potatoes.
I dice the scallions.
I get out the cayenne pepper, the butter, the canned soups, the corn, the cream cheese and the shrimp.
Yes, cream cheese and shrimp. Can you really go wrong these two ingredients?
As I peel the potatoes and chop them to just the right size, I think back to all the times my family had meals with them. “Them” was our family in the small town where we lived for almost 25 years, before we moved east. Not our share-the-same-DNA family but the family that became our family because we didn’t have any DNA relatives close by. And holidays are meant to be shared with family. They were friends of my husband before we were even dating and they welcomed me with open arms.
The water begins to boil. I toss in the shrimp and let them cook exactly 5 minutes. Then dump them into a colander and plunge them into ice water to stop the cooking.
As the years went by it wasn’t just Christmas dinner. It was Thanksgiving and Easter. It was Memorial Day and 4th of July. It was just because or Mary Beth is in town or weddings or funerals. It was all of these and more.
I never make this recipe without thinking of them. Without thinking of the many memories associated with this dish. I toss the butter in the pan and let it begin to melt, I add the scallions and cayenne pepper. And I let them come together.
Like family comes together.
I add the potatoes and I stir the mixture well, coating the potatoes with the butter, scallion and cayenne pepper goodness. And the potatoes are surrounded with the deliciousness.
Like family surrounded with love.
I let them cook, stirring often so they won’t stick to the pan. When the potatoes are almost cooked, I add the remaining ingredients except the shrimp and the frozen corn.
And I leave the mixture on low heat and let it cook for several hours, stirring so it doesn’t stick and just to keep an eye on things.
Like family keeps an eye on each other.
Here at Grace Table we say “Hospitality isn’t about what or how you eat–it’s about setting the table with love.”
This dish always reminds me of the love a family showed me when I didn’t have “family” around. My first Christmas dinner away from my family was spent with them. The table was set and I was invited – when they didn’t know me.
Have you invited someone to share your space? To share a meal? It doesn’t have to be shrimp chowder, it can be potato soup, but I can almost guarantee that you won’t be sorry.
- 2 pounds shrimp, steamed or boiled
- 1 bunch scallions
- 4 Tbsp (½ stick) butter
- ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 3 large russet potatoes, peeled & diced
- 4 cans cream of potato soup
- 4 cups milk
- 2 (8 oz.) pkgs cream cheese
- 1 (16 oz.) pkg. frozen corn
- In a large pot, melt butter, add scallions & cayenne pepper. Saute for a minute & add diced potatoes. Cover and cook until potatoes are almost done, stirring often. Add soup, milk and cream cheese. Cook until cream cheese is melted and all potatoes are cooked, stirring often. Add shrimp and corn and cook until heated through.
- It is best the next day. To reheat, cook over medium low heat, stirring often until piping hot.