Thursday, March 8, 2012

Seafood Chowder

Since I had the fish stock on hand, it seemed like the next logical step was to make a Seafood Chowder.  The nice thing about a fish stock base is that it imparts a lot of flavor.  However, you still need some kind of yummy seafood bits to chew on.  The catch is, I am on a pretty tight budget and buying seafood is not really in that budget.  So, a while ago I started stockpiling frozen seafood as it came on sale.  I picked up a large bag of baby scallops for $2.49, used a half of a ring of frozen shrimp, and a bag of seafood mix (octopus, shrimp, and fish) for $2.99.  Since all of it was frozen, after thawing it I soaked everything in milk to get out the fishiness--milk is the best insurance policy for seafood.

Since this was my first time making it, there was more improving, seasoning, and correcting than measuring of ingredients.  I'm going to give you an approximation of what I did--so consider this more of a journey than a recipe.

3 slices of bacon
1/2 red onion, cut into thin slivers
1 cup mirepoix of carrots, celery, and onions
1 orange (or red or green) pepper, diced
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp ground pepper
1-2 tsp. cayenne seasoning
2 tbls. sherry
1 cup white wine
2 large potatoes, cubed and with skin left on
4-5 cups fish stock
3 cups of baby scallops, frozen seafood medley, and shrimp
3 tbls. butter
3 tbls. flour
2 cups milk
additional 1/2 tsp of ground pepper and 1 tsp. red pepper flakes

  • In a large stock pot, crisp the bacon.  When it is done, remove and drain on a paper towel.  
  • In the bacon grease, add the red onions and mirepoix and cook for 2-3 minutes.  Add the orange pepper and cook for another couple of minutes.  When the vegetables are soft, add salt, pepper, and cayenne seasoning. 
  • With the sherry and white wine, deglaze the pot.  After cooking off a little of the liquid, add the potatoes and toss in mixture.  Ladle in fish stock so that the potatoes are covered with liquid.  Bring to a boil and cook potatoes until fork tender.  At this point, add the seafood and bring back to a boil.  Then reduce the temperature to a simmer. 
  • In another pot, over medium heat melt butter and whisk in flour to make a roux.  Add the milk, pepper, and red pepper flakes, and another little dash of sherry.  Keep stirring until mixture thickens.  
  • Once the milk is so thick it coats the back of a spoon, pour into the seafood soup.  Simmer together for about 30 minutes to incorporate all the flavors.  
  • Served topped with the crispy bacon, thinly sliced asparagus, and some drops of sriracha.  

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  1. Whoa!! this chowder looks rich and yummy! Love that you serve by topping with crispy bacon.

    1. Thanks for the compliment! I'm glad you approve!

  2. St. Lynn’s Press has a new release hot off the press, RAMPS: Cooking with the Best Kept Secret of the Appalachian Trail! Whether you call them ramps or wild leeks, this wild-foraged spring delicacy is the newest celebrity on the food scene. If you’ve ever tasted this earthy delight at an Appalachian ramp festival or a fine restaurant in the city, you know what the buzz is about. And now, the ramp has its own cookbook. We would love you to review a copy of our new book!

    Havilah Vitartas

    1. Sadly, I'm probably not a good target audience. I have a slight garlic allergy so I don't use it that often in cooking.

      Best of luck with the book though.


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