Dried shrimp soup is a Mexican cantina classic that has fueled many a “next round.” Friday afternoons are an especially good time to find this beloved soup at your friendly neighborhood watering hole. But if such a thing doesn’t exist near you, make it yourself and invite a group of friends for a multi-course cantina night of small dishes.
- 1 pound dried shrimp
- 6 guajillo chiles (or more to taste)
- 2 medium, ripe plum tomatoes
- 1 large clove garlic
- 2 large, unpeeled garlic cloves
- 1 thick slice white onion
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 pound potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes
- 4 carrots, peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes
- Salt to taste
- Lime wedges for serving
Rinse the shrimp and soak them in cold water for 15 minutes. Rinse again and put them in a stockpot with 1 ½ quarts cold water.
Bring the shrimp to a boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 10 minutes. Strain and reserve shrimp and broth separately. Remove the heads and tails and peel the shrimp. (Some cooks like to leave the shells on. I don’t, but it’s a matter of personal preference.)
Toast the chiles on a comal or dry griddle just to the point of fragrance. Remove the stems and shake out the seeds. Roast the tomatoes, garlic and onion on the same comal until they have softened and have some brown spots. Peel the garlic and place the chiles, tomatoes, onion and garlic in a blender, adding enough of the shrimp broth to allow the blades to move. Blend to form a smooth puree.
Heat the oil in a large pot, add the puree and simmer for 5 minutes over medium low heat. Add the reserved shrimp broth, shrimp, potatoes and carrots. Raise heat to medium high and continue cooking until potatoes and carrots are tender. Add salt to taste (it shouldn’t need much.)
Serve hot with plenty of lime wedges for squeezing over the soup. Serves 8 as part of a multi-course meal.
For sauces, soups and snacks: Using Mexican dried shrimp