CHUPE DE CAMARONES (South American shrimp chowder, for eight)

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Here’s a South American take on chowder.  Chupe is found throughout South America, but it is most popular in Bolivia, Chile and, especially, Peru.  Chupe de camarones is a specialty of the south coastal region of Peru.

2 medium-size onions, chopped

3 garlic cloves, chopped

3 jalapeno chiles, seeded and chopped

2 tablespoons olive oil

24 medium-size shrimp, preferably with heads (1 pound without heads, 1-1/2 pound with heads) peeled and deveined

8 medium-size tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped, or 4 cups canned, seeded and drained

3 medium-size potatoes, peeled, ½ roughly cubed and ½ cut into ¼ inch cubes

3 cups fish or chicken broth or water

¾ cup heavy cream

3 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro leaves



  1. Over medium heat, stew the onions, garlic and peppers in the olive oil in a heavy-bottomed, 4 quart pot until the vegetables soften, about 10 minutes. Don’t let the vegetables brown. Put the shrimp peels (and the heads if you have them) in the pot with the vegetables and cook the mixture for 5 minutes more over medium heat. (Some find it easier to tie the shrimp trimmings in cheesecloth to facilitate removal.)
  1. Add the tomatoes, roughly cubed potato and 2 cups of the broth to the pot with the vegetables and shrimp trimmings.  Cover the pot and simmer the mixture for about 20 minutes, or until the potatoes have softened thoroughly.  While the soup base is cooking, simmer the cubed potato in the remaining broth in a covered pot until it just begins to soften, about 20 minutes.
  1. Strain the soup base through the fine disk of a food mill or puree it in a blender or food processor a little bit at a time and strain it through a medium-mesh strainer. If you want the soup to have a smoother consistency, strain it again through a fine mesh strainer.
  1. Combine the soup base and the potato cubes with their cooking liquid in a pot with the heavy cream and the chopped cilantro. Bring the soup to a simmer and add the shrimp.  Cook the shrimp for about 2 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper and serve immediately in hot bowls.

NOTE:  Different vegetables, such as corn kernels or peas, can be added to the chupe as well as different fish or shellfish.


from James Peterson, Splendid Soups

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