Cuban Shrimp Soup


3 Tbsp butter
1 lb medium shrimp, peeled, shells reserved
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 cups water
2-4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
3 large tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and chopped
1 bay (laurel) leaf
2 cloves
4-6 new potatoes, halved
4 cups milk
2 ears sweet corn, cut into 2-inch slices
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
2 egg yolks, beaten
4-6 poached eggs (optional)

Heat 1 tablespoon of the butter in a skillet and sauté the shrimp shells until lightly browned and aromatic, about 15 minutes. Transfer to a saucepan and add the water. Bring to a boil and simmer uncovered until reduced by half. Strain, discard the shrimp shells, and set the stock aside.

Meanwhile, heat the remaining butter in a large pot and sauté the onion and garlic until tender but not brown, about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes, bay leaf, cloves. and reserved shrimp stock and simmer covered for 15 minutes. Strain the stock, discard the solids, and return the stock to the pot. Add the potatoes and simmer covered until the potatoes are almost done, about 15 minutes. Add the milk, shrimp, corn, salt, and pepper and simmer covered for 5 minutes. Stir a little of the hot liquid into the egg yolks and stir the resulting mixture into the soup. Simmer, stirring gently, until the soup thickens a little - do not boil.

Serve garnished with a poached egg if desired. Serves 4 to 6.