This Mexican shrimp soup brings together fresh shrimp, dried shrimp, guajillo and cascabel chilis, and tender vegetables all in one spicy bowl of comfort food.
Keyword: Mexican shrimp soup
Author: Andrés Carnalla
Fine mesh sieve
3lbsCambray potatoes, unpeeleddiced in ½ to 1-inch cubes
2lbsfresh shrimpcleaned and deveined
1lbdried shrimpsmall or medium, with heads on
1 ½cupscarrotspeeled and diced
1 tbspolive oil or other cooking oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Soak the Chilis
To create a flavorful base for our soup, we’ll need to soak the guajillo and cascabel chilis. While ground, dried chilis make powerful spices, soaking chilis takes off some of the heat to provide a smoother-tasting broth.
Start by washing the chilis. Cut off the tops and then slice lengthwise. Cut off the veins and remove the seeds. These are the hottest parts of the chili. Discard tops, veins and seeds.
Fill a sauce pan with water. Over medium heat, soak the chili peppers for 15 minutes.
The chilis will go from brittle to soft, and will take on a deep red color. Once the chilis have soaked, remove them from the pot into a separate bowl and reserve the water.
Make the Broth
Place the onion, tomato and garlic in a pot on the stovetop with water and bring to a boil.
As you cook, you’ll see the skin of the tomatoes begin to peel away. Once the vegetables have changed color and softened, remove from the heat and drain the vegetables.
Add the tomato, onion, garlic and chilis to your blender. Pour in some of the reserved water from the soaked chilis to make blending easier.
Purée for about a minute to a minute and a half until smooth. Transfer the mixture to a separate bowl and reserve.
Prepare the Veggies
Wash and dice the Cambray potatoes into ½-inch to 1-inch pieces. Do not peel! Most of the nutrients from the potato is just under the skin, so keeping it on makes for a healthier soup and adds a little flavor and texture lift.
Peel the carrots and dice into ¼-inch pieces.
Grind the Dried Shrimp
For this shrimp soup recipe, we’ll grind the heads only of the dried shrimp, and add the body to the soup in a later step. First, remove the heads of the dried shrimp by gently pulling and twisting with your fingers.
Place the heads only into the blender.
Ground the heads to a fine powder.
Make the Soup
Heat the cooking oil in a soup pot over high heat. Then add the potatoes to the pot.
Reduce to medium-high heat and stir the potatoes constantly so they don’t stick to the bottom.
Add the diced carrots and continue to stir.
Sauté vegetables for two minutes over medium-high heat.
Using a fine mesh sieve, slowly strain the chili mixture into the soup pot with the veggies. You can use a spoon to stir the mixture inside the sieve to make it drain faster. Discard the contents of the sieve.
Cook the broth for about three minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add 6 cups of water to the broth and bring to a boil.
Add in the ground shrimp heads, bay leaves and salt to taste. Don't add too much salt. The dried shrimp is already very salty. If you need more salt, add it just before the soup is ready.
Add the oregano, dried shrimp, black pepper and epazote and continue cooking. If foam forms on the surface, skim it off with a spoon and discard to ensure you get the cleanest broth possible.
Add the fresh shrimp prawns, shrimp shells and all!
Bring to a boil, cover, and cook for 10 minutes. When you can easily pierce the carrots and potatoes with a fork, your shrimp soup is ready!
Serve Your Soup
Serve this delicious shrimp soup with a squeeze of fresh lime juice, a sprinkle of onions and a chunk of crusty bread or warm corn tortillas.
Substitutions and Additions
Green onion for white onion.
Cilantro for epazote, although the taste will slightly change.
Sweet potatoes for Cambray potatoes.
Add in chipotle for a smoky flavor.
Include other fresh vegetables like zucchini.
Throw in some scallops for an even heartier seafood soup.
Spice it up with sliced jalapeños, cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes.