Seafood ChowderPosted: May 4, 2015
Growing up in New England meant constant availability of fantastic seafood at just about any time of the year. Now that I live in Southern California, I can find great sushi, but finding a good seafood chowder can be a bit more of a challenge. So when the craving for a rich chowder strikes, it’s always best to make a big batch at home.
For this seafood chowder recipe I like to make the stock myself. This gives it an enhanced flavor that is well worth the extra effort. As an alternative to oyster crackers, I like to make croutons at home to give this soup a slight crunch with every bite.
For the stock: 1 large white onion, 4 carrots, 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 garlic clove (minced), shells from 1 1/2 pounds of shrimp, 5 sprigs dried thyme, 1 small can tomato paste, 1 bay leaf, 1.5 quarts of water, 3/4 cup clam juice, 1 cup white wine, 1 tablespoon salt, 1 tablespoon pepper.
Heat olive oil in a heavy bottomed pot. Dice onions and carrots and add to pot. Stir and let cook for about 3 minutes then add garlic and shrimp shells. Cook for an additional minute and add all of the remaining ingredients. Bring stock to a boil, then lower to a simmer and allow to cook for 1 hour. Once stock is done pass through a fine sifter, you should have about 4 cups of stock.
For the chowder: 2 large potatoes, 3 carrots, 1 white onion, 1 stick butter, 1/3 cup flour, 1/2 cup heavy cream, 2 cups baby clams, 1 cup squid (I like to leave the tentacle pieces intact and cut the rest into rings), 1 cup crab meat, 1 1/2 pounds shrimp (peeled and cut into small cubes), 4 cups seafood stock.
Melt butter in a large heavy bottomed pot. Dice potatoes, carrots, and onions and add to pot with melted butter. Cook for about ten minutes, then add flour and mix well. Add the stock and bring to a simmer. Add heavy cream, clams, squid, crab meat, and shrimp to pot (add more water if needed). Cook for an additional 7 – 10 minutes until seafood is cooked through.
For the croutons: 1 baguette, 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, 2 tablespoons chopped parsley. Cut a baguette into small cubes and place bread pieces in a bowl with the remaining ingredients, tossing to coat the bread. Place bread onto a baking sheet and bake in over at 400°F for 10 minutes until pieces are slightly browned and crispy.
Add croutons to hot bowl right before eating and garnish with fresh parsley if desired.