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the red color comes from tomatoes, and when making any soups with seafood, always put the seafood in when the soup base is almost done. shrimp don't take long to cook (5-10 min), and if they're cooked too long, they get rubbery and tough, and you don't want that.

this recipe doesn't have the celery, carrots, etc. that you want, but that's why i love making soups in the winter - you can throw in just whatever you feel like throwing in. :)

Caldo de Camarón (Shrimp Soup)

1 lb. unpeeled, medium-size fresh shrimp
6 1/2 c. chicken broth
3 c. chopped fresh tomatoes
4 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
2 serrano chiles, stemmed, seeded, and chopped
1 c. chopped white onion
1 tsp. dried whole oregano
2 T. olive oil
2 c. zucchini or crookneck yellow squash, cut into 1/3-inch cubes
11/2 c. baking potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/3-inch cubes
1/2 tsp. salt, or to taste
1/4 tsp. black pepper, or to taste
Lime wedges
Warm Mexican rice (optional)

Peel and devein shrimp under cold running water, reserving peels and shrimp separately; set shrimp aside. Place peels in a large pot, add chicken broth, bring to a boil, and simmer 10 minutes. Remove broth from heat, and strain, reserving broth and discarding shrimp peels.

Place tomatoes, garlic, chiles, onion, and oregano in a blender, and purée. Set aside. In a large pot, heat oil over medium-high heat, add purée, and cook, stirring constantly to prevent scorching, until mixture is reduced to less than a cup and very thick. Remove mixture from heat, allow to cool for about 30 seconds, then gradually stir in reserved broth.

Bring liquid to a simmer, add squash, potatoes, salt, and pepper, and simmer 5 minutes. Turn heat to high, add shrimp, bring to a boil, and simmer briefly until shrimp are nearly, but not quite done. Ladle soup into large soup bowls, and serve with lime wedges and, if desired, Mexican rice (diners can add rice as desired). Yield: 4 entrée servings.
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