Monday 27 July 2015

Kitchen Adventures: Seafood Chowder

In my house, we love a good maritime treat.. Any seafood will do, but chowder is a favourite. It's so rich that we usually only make it once a year. Usually, it's at Christmas time, with leftover lobster from our Christmas Eve lobster. This year, my husband requested it for his birthday.

I like to share recipes, but often make things up as I go along. This is especially true with seafood chowder, and that's what makes it fun. This time, I thought I would write down what I do, so I can duplicate it or make more calculated improvements over time. 

I should warn you that this recipe is for a crowd. It would probably feed about 20. We needed to feed 10. Many had seconds, and we have lots of leftovers. I have issues with size control when cooking. If you are looking for a smaller recipe, scroll to the bottom of the recipe, as I've cut it in half, for a smaller crowd.  

Maritime Seafood Chowder

(Serves a crowd!)

1/2 C Butter
3-4 small-medium onions, diced
6 celery stalks, diced
3-4 carrots, diced
4 baking potatoes, diced
2 baking potatoes, grated
5 bay leaves
3t thyme
3t dill
1/2t cayenne pepper
1/2t paprika
2L (8C) Cream - I use coffee cream, which is 18%, but you could go as rich as you want.
2-3L (8-10C) Milk - whole
4 Cans of clams and juice
5-6 lbs of seafood the following (or any other mix of seafood)
-Scallops (if large, cut in half of thirds) 
-Shrimp (raw, peeled, and deveined )
-Lobster (cut into chunks)
-Salmon (chunked)
-Haddock (chunked)
Salt & Pepper, to taste

Salmon, Haddock, Lobster,
Scallops and Shrimp, waiting
to be added to the pot.

1.  In a stock pot, melt butter over medium-high heat, and add onions, celery, and carrots. Cook, until veggies are starting to cook. It will smell heavenly. 

2.  Add potatoes (diced and grated), spices (alter to suit your tastes), clams and juices, and 1L of cream and 1L of milk. Heat over medium until it starts to bubble a bit, but DON'T BOIL! There is dairy in that pot, and you don't want it to turn and curdle. 

3.  Turn down the heat and let it simmer for about 45 minutes, or until the grated potatoes have broken down and the diced potatoes are getting tender. Make sure you stir a lot. 

4.  Add the rest of the seafood, including any juice - especially the lobster juice! - and then enough cream and milk to ensure there is a good amount of broth. I added about 1.5L of milk and 1L of cream. 

5.  Turn up the heat a bit and let it warm through. Stir, stir, stir. That's key.  If you want a really rich treat, add some more butter, cubed, and start stirring. I don't think it's necessary, but I know people that swear by it! Once everything is in the pot and heated, it's time to taste and adjust. Taste the broth and adjust the spices. I added a little extra dill, some pepper and a little salt.  

I encourage you to make the recipe your own - try different spices, seafood, veggies, etc. Try a different ratio of cream to milk, or cut out the cream altogether, to save some calories and fat. Whatever you do, let me know! Then, I can try it for myself. Leave a comment, and share your chowder tips!


Since you won't always have a crowd, here is an ingredients list for a half recipe. It's still heavy on the seafood.  You could easily cut this in half again. 

1/4 C Butter
2 small-medium onions, diced
3 celery stalks, diced
2 carrots, diced
2 baking potatoes, diced
1 baking potatoes, grated
3 bay leaves
1.5t thyme
1.5t dill
1/4t cayenne pepper
1/4t paprika
1L (4C) Cream - 35%, or a mix (1/2 L for step 2, and the rest for step 4)
1-2L (4-8C) Milk - whole (1/2 L for step 2, and the rest for step 4)
2 Cans of clams and juice
3 lbs of seafood like the following (or any other mix of seafood) 
- Scallops, Shrimp, Lobster, Salmon, Haddock
Salt & Pepper

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