Caldo de Camaron Seco (Dried Shrimp Broth)

From Diana Kennedy, Art of Mexican Cooking.
The dried shrimp soup (Caldo de Camaron Seco) is often served as a Lenten dish. Ms. Kennedy tells us it is considered to be a helpful remedy for a hangover.

The soup should be served in large bowls and the addition of the oil adds a nice richness to the broth.

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1/4 pound large dried shrimp
10 (1 1/2 oz) chiles guajillos
2 large (1 lb) ripe tomatoes
2 large garlic cloves, peeled
2 tablespoons safflower oil
2/3 cup cooked chick-peas (garbanzo beans) you can use canned if you don't wish to prepare fresh
3 medium (6 oz) carrots, scraped and cut into 1/2" slices
3 small (6 oz) red skinned potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2" cubes
5 cups water
sea salt to taste

1/3 cup olive oil or mild avocado oil (optional)
1/2 cup chopped white onion
8 lime quarters


Remove the heads and legs from the shrimps, if any (leaving tails and shells intact), and grind them to a fine powder in an electric spice grinder. Set both the whole shrimps and shrimp powder aside.

Wipe any dust or dirt off the dried chiles with a damp cloth. Remove the stems and discard. Slip them open, removing veins and seeds. Discard the seeds and set veins aside. Tear the chiles into small pieces.

Cover the tomatoes with water and bring to a simmer. Simmer for about 5 minutes. Drain, discarding the cooking water. Transfer the unskinnned tomatoes to a blend jar (do not use a food process as it is not as effective in this case), add the garlic, and blend until smooth. Add the chile pieces and blend again until the puree is as smooth as possible, adding a little water if necessary to do a more efficient job. Press the puree through a fine strainer or sieve and discard the chile skin debris.

In a large saucepan, heat the oil , add the tomato/chile puree, and cook over high heat, stirring and scraping the bottom of the pan from time to time to prevent sticking, until reduced--about 10 minutes. Add the chick-peas, whole shrimp, shrimp powder, carrots, potatoes, water and salt to taste; set over low heat to simmer for about 1 hour. By this time the shrimps will be soft, the vegetables tender, and all the flavors amalgamated. Dilute with 1 cup of water if too concentrated. Top with olive (or avocado oil) onion and lime.
Posted: 3/12/2009 4:21:04 PM

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