Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Seafood Chowder

I was in the mood for warm soup and for something new the other night. Something like... Seafood chowder. I had an excellent version of this dish at a restaurant a few months ago, and decided to try to recreate it.
I started with the base. Chowder is a potato-based soup, but the traditional method of boiling the potatoes always seems to leave soups starchy and grainy. I wanted the flavor and thickness a potato-based soup, without the grit. Based on a method we tried a few posts ago, I decided to oven-roast the potatoes. I must have been very hungry when I started, because a lot of other vegetables started sounding good too:
Here is the recipe I came up with:

1 potato, diced
3 medium carrots, diced
3 whole cloves of garlic
1/4 cup diced onion
1/4 cup diced red pepper
1/2 cup frozen corn

2/3 cup frozen shrimp
1 lb scallops, chopped
2 small halibut fillets

6 tablespoons butter
6 tablespoons flour
2 cups chicken broth
2 cups milk (or half n half, or cream)
You can use any type of potato in this recipe, but I used sweet potatoes. Now, in Oregon, sweet potatoes are different than what people call sweet potatoes in the rest of the country. Oregon sweet potatoes are not yams. They are shaped like a yam but have a slightly yellower color than a regular potato, and very sweet flesh. If you can’t find this type of potato, I would recommend using your favorite regular potato (Yukon golds always taste good in soups).

I tossed the potatoes, carrots, and garlic with a little butter and baked them uncovered at 375 for about 30 minutes. I did not put the garlic in the soup, just used it to season the vegetables. I then added red peppers, onions, and frozen corn and baked for another 30 minutes. Your vegetables will be done at this point, but you can leave them in for another 10-15 minutes if you want them to brown more.
While this was baking, I made my chowder base beginning with a roux. To make the roux, I melted 6 tablespoons of butter in a medium sauce pan. After removing the pan from the heat, I added 6 tablespoons of flour. Stir this well, until it is smooth and well mixed. I added two cups of cold chicken broth slowly, stirring constantly. If you want to use clams in your recipe, you can substitute clam juice for some of the broth here (I didn't have any on hand, so I left them out). Then, I added a half and half mixture of cream and milk. You can use just milk if you like. Return the pan to the burner on low heat. Stir often as you heat this back up because it will stick to the bottom of your pan.
Next, I added my seafood. I had frozen cooked salad shrimp, scallops and a small halibut fillet on hand. I thawed everything, patting it dry to remove excess water. I cut the scallops in bite size pieces and pan fried them. I also pan fried the piece of halibut and then flaked it. Then I added the fish and vegetables to the chowder base, and seasoned to taste with salt and pepper. This makes enough to serve 4 -- but if you want to stretch it, you can always add more potatoes. Serve hot with oyster crackers.

1 comment:

  1. I don't even like this dish and she makes it sound good!