Peruvian shrimp and corn chowder

With a Puerto Rican father and a Dutch mother, Pete Vazquez was born with an international palate. By 1996, the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, native and his wife Janice were showcasing one of the most eclectic and ambitious menus ever seen in New Orleans. Thailand, Spain, Vietnam, Tasmania, Peru—at Marisol, their Esplanade Avenue restaurant, the cuisines of the world became Pete’s culinary playground. After Hurricane Katrina closed Marisol, New Orleanians flocked to Chef Pete’s impromptu Sunday dinners in the tropical courtyard of Bacchanal, a wine and spirits store in the Upper Ninth Ward. Pete is still a wandering chef, but you can take a culinary adventure with him via this unconventional chowder.


  • 3 tablespoons cooking oil
  • 1 pound medium Louisiana shrimp (do not peel)
  • 3 teaspoons salt, divided
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1-1/2 pounds butternut squash, peeled, halved lengthwise, seeded and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1-1/4 pounds green cabbage (half of a small head), chopped
  • 1 pound baking potatoes (about 2), peeled and cut into 1-1/2-inch chunks
  • 4 ears corn, (or 2 cups canned corn kernels)
  • 2 quarts water
  • dash of Tabasco
  • 1 cup heavy cream (or milk for a lighter chowder)
  • 1 cup frozen peas (optional)


Heat oil in a large pot over moderate heat. Add shrimp and 1 teaspoon of the salt; cook, stirring frequently, for about 5 minutes or until shrimp are pink and firm. Remove shrimp from pan with a slotted spoon and cool. When cool enough to handle, peel the shrimp. Set aside.

Add 1 teaspoon of the salt, onion, paprika, cayenne pepper, and cumin to the pot. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes or until onion is translucent. Cut kernels from corn cob and reserve. Add squash, cabbage, potatoes, corn, water, and Tabasco to the pot. Cover and bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer partially covered for about 15 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Add cream and simmer for 10 minutes. Stir in shrimp, remaining 1 teaspoon salt, and peas if desired. Cook for about 2 minutes or until shrimp are just heated through.

Recipe compliments of Peter Vazquez, chef and co-owner, Marisol

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