I have this recurring dilemma about summer food. I realize that for many people a soup or stew does not sound great during the summer. But a lot of soups and stews are traditionally made all over the world in hot climates. Sometimes I feel like it is only those of us who live in 4 season locales that have a fixation about not heating the kitchen up in the summer. Heck I have been known to sweat in the kitchen in the winter! Stovetop heat is just a fact of life, and once you get past turning on the stove, a stew like this one, chock full of veggies and a pretty light broth, can taste pretty perfect in the summer.
I promised you updates on the aquarium project. Setting this thing up is quite the process! As I mentioned, we went with a 20 gallon aquarium. We could have went with something smaller, a bit more fitting for a child’s bedroom, but the official advice was that it is better to start big as it is much easier to keep fish alive in a larger aquarium. That of course also necessitated finding a stand. A 20 gallon aquarium will weigh around 200 pounds when filled with water, gravel and ornaments, which I am not counting on our IKEA bookshelves to hold. Plus a stand has the benefit of having a cupboard to store food and aquarium cleaning supplies.
The aquarium has to run for around a week before we can put any fish in it, to make sure the water is completely cycled and “fish-ready.” So it is empty (of fish) for now. But Alex did get to pick out the gravel and ornaments. I am pretty happy with her choices–Sammy made it clear that if it were her aquarium it would be filled with pink garbed princesses and ceramic castles. Those are legitimate choices, but I have to admit I prefer the almost natural look that Alex went with, high-lighted by touches of bright, borderline neon pastels.
I’m kinda jealous. I kinda want a fish tank in my room!
This soup has its roots in Spanish chorizo stews and potato dishes, but it is a lighter alternative with cauliflower taking potato’s role.
- 1-2 T extra virgin olive oil
- 1 lb spanish chorizo, diced
- 1 large red onion, diced
- cloves from 1 head garlic, minced
- 4 medium-large tomatoes, chopped (I peeled mine because they were frozen and it was easy)
- 1 bottle hard cider, 12 oz
- salt to taste
- 1 t ground cumin
- 3 t Spanish smoked paprika--heat up to you
- 3 cups low sodium chicken stock
- 2 heads of cauliflower, broken into bite sized florets
- 1 10 oz bag frozen peas
- 1-1.5 lbs med shrimp
- chopped flat leaf parsley
Heat the olive oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the chorizo and cook for 5-10 minutes, stirring, until the fat is rendered and the sausage is browned.
Remove the sausage with a slotted spoon and set aside.
Add the onions to the pot with a pinch of salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until caramelizing, about 10-15 minutes.
Add the garlic and mix in. If it starts to scorch, add a splash of the cider to deglaze the pot. Cook for another 2-3 minutes.
Add the spices and the tomatoes with another pinch of salt. Cook for 10 minutes, letting the tomatoes break down and thicken. Add the rest of the hard cider and bring to a boil. Cook for 3 minutes or so to cook out some of the alcohol. Add the chicken stock.
Add the cauliflower and bring to a simmer. Cover the pot and let simmer gently to cook the cauliflower, about 10 minutes.
Stir in the cooked chorizo. Add the shrimp and bring to a very gentle simmer. Keep an eye on the stew, stirring occasionally. It is important to not overcook the shrimp. When it looks nearly cooked through (pink and curled), mix the peas in as well. Bring to a simmer and taste for salt. Sprinkle with chopped parsley. Serve with crusty bread.