Jan’s newly discovered Mexican family lives/lived on the boarder of Jalisco and Nayarit. Jan decided on a Mexican Christmas feast of crab tamales, I though a shrimp soup would go nicely as a starter. I found a site on Nayarit cuisine that described a caldo de camarón (shrimp broth). Adding some tomatoes, fresh shrimp, and cilantro makes it soup.
The traditional method for making this soup broth would be to boil dried shrimp. However, this soup base is apparently a common enough dish that my local Mexican market carries pre-ground dried shrimp for a quick and easy broth. The Nayarit version of this soup uses bay leaf, oregano, coriander and tomato and the broth is served with chopped onion and lime.
After Dinner Note: Jan pronounced this a “keeper” recipe. It is a quick and easy soup for a light starter dish.
Karl’s Sopa de Camarón
½-1 lb. medium shrimp
1½ qts. shrimp broth
½ tsp. annatto seeds, cracked
pinch saffron, rubbed
1 bay leaf
1 tsp. cumin, toasted and ground
1 tsp. coriander, toasted and ground
1 tsp. Mexican oregano
2 Roma tomatoes, diced
½ cup onion, finely diced
½ cup cilantro leaves
1. Clean and remove the shells from the shrimp and set them aside.
Tip: Save the shells to add to the shrimp broth. You may fry the shells in the pot before adding the water to preserve their goodness.
2. Make your shrimp broth.
Note: The traditional method of making this broth is to simmer a pound dried shrimp in 1½ quarts of water and then straining out the shrimp—these are then peeled or left whole to be returned to the finished soup. The quick method is to use two tablespoons of consomé de camarón (powdered dried shrimp) in a pot of boiling water—no muss, no fuss.
3. Add the annatto, saffron, bay leaf, cumin, and coriander and simmer the broth for 10 minutes.
4. Strain out the annatto seeds and any large threads of saffron.
Tip: Crack the annatto seeds with a mortar and pestle. Do not try to grind these hard little seeds in an electric coffee grinder, because they will destroy the blades.
5. Add the Mexican oregano, tomatoes, and shrimp to the soup and simmer for five minutes more.
6. Serve the sopa de camarón with fresh diced onion, cilantro leaves, lime wedges, and Salsa Huichol on the side to be added as your diners please.