In the thirty years I lived in or around Chicago, a winter occurred in every one of those years. You could look it up. And, every one of those winters has been painfully cold and prolonged.1
One felicitous consequence of this otherwise unfortunate situation is that I accumulated, after careful and replicated testing, recipes for four winter dishes that meet my criteria for cold weather survival rations:
- The recipes are easy to understand and can be completed by someone with no culinary skills beyond the capacity to follow simple directions. There are, for example, no instructions to “deglaze” whatever it is one deglazes (donuts?) or “start with a basic mirepoix.” And, everything on the list of ingredients can routinely be found at the local medium sized Jewel grocery store.
- The leftovers can be frozen and will taste as good or better reheated than the servings that were consumed the day they were cooked.
- One serving results in most folks — well, those who are not teenage boys — feeling content but not bloated
- The first, second, third… and last mouthful overwhelms winter despair and triggers expressions of epicurean delight, such as Yummmm or its equivalents2
Being generous of spirit, I hereby grant amnesty to those living without the benefit of horrid winters who nonetheless wish to indulge in these feasts.
Now, on to today’s offering.
Spicy Shrimp and Noodle Soup
A wonderful Ex introduced this to me – and has twice given me the recipe3 when I’ve lost it. (Yes, she’s incredibly nice, and I didn’t deserve her.)
It is a surprisingly seductive dish – if my experience is indicative (yes, my experience with Wonderful Ex) – that goes well with Riesling wine and works well for either lunch or dinner.
Prep: 25 minutes
Marinate: 20 minutes
1 pound fresh or frozen medium shrimp in shells
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/8 teaspoon pepper
3 cups water
2 3-ounce packages shrimp- or Oriental-flavored ramen noodles
1 16-ounce jar salsa
1 15-ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 8-1/4-ounce can no-salt-added whole kernel corn, drained
1/4 cup snipped fresh cilantro
1 green onion, thinly sliced
Shredded cheddar cheese (optional)
Fresh cilantro (optional)
1. Thaw shrimp, if frozen. Peel and devein shrimp. In a medium mixing bowl combine lemon juice, chili powder, cumin, and pepper; add shrimp. Toss to coat. Let shrimp stand for 20 minutes at room temperature, stirring occasionally.
2. Meanwhile, in a large saucepan bring water to boiling. Stir in 1 noodle flavor packet (reserve remaining flavor packet for another use) and the broken noodles. Return to boiling and cook 1 minute. Add the shrimp and cook for 1 to 2 minutes more or until shrimp turn pink. Stir in salsa, beans, corn, snipped cilantro, and green onion. Heat through. To serve, top each serving with cheese and garnish with cilantro, if desired. Makes 4 to 6 servings.
Make ahead tip: Peel and devein shrimp; cover tightly and refrigerate up to 2 hours before using.
Recipes For Winter Sustenance & Verve:
Photo by T.Tseng
- DrHGuy is not a celebrant of the Winter Wonderland conceit or a participant in any winter sports that require equipment other than pillows, handcuffs, and a few extra batteries. In fact, as far as DrHGuy can determine, winter in Chicago is why a merciful God made Maui and keeps airlines flying there. [↩]
- Also acceptable are delectable, luscious, delightful, scrumptious, scrumdidelicious, mmmmmm, delicious, heavenly, yummy, yum yum yum, délicieux, quite toothsome, and damn, that’s good [↩]
- The origin of the recipe is Better Homes & Gardens. [↩]