Monday, December 31, 2012

Seafood Chowder

5 strips bacon (I love to use the pre-cooked to save time and mess)
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tablespoons butter
2 Tablespoons white flour
2 cups chicken stock
1 cup dry white wine (Optional – you may replace with milk)
2 cups unpeeled and diced potatoes (Frozen Southern Hash Browns work great and save time)
½  pound whitefish fillets (cod, haddock or fluke)
1 can of baby clams with juice
1 small bag frozen shrimp
1 bag frozen mixed seafood (squid, crab, shrimp mix that I pick up at Wal-Mart)
1 cup heavy cream (You may also use half and half or milk if you want lighter)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

In a large, heavy Dutch oven, fry up the bacon until crisp. Drain bacon on paper towels and add the butter to the pot. Sauté the onions in the bacon drippings and butter until transparent (about 5 minutes). Add the garlic and cook for one minute. Add flour, stirring constantly for a few minutes, until the roux turns slightly golden (You may also use a corn starch slurry if you prefer, but add it at the end after everything has come to a simmer). Stir in the stock, wine, potatoes and simmer until potatoes are tender.  Stir constantly to keep the soup from burning or sticking to the bottom of the soup pot. Cut the whitefish into chunks and add to the pot. Add your detailed shrimp, can of clams with juice and seafood mix.  Simmer on low for 10 minutes or until the fish is just opaque. Turn heat down to low.  Stir in the cream and salt and pepper to taste. Simmer on low until just heated through, making sure not to let the soup boil (you do not want it to curdle).

Ladle soup into bowls and top with bacon bits.  Serve with oyster crackers or toasted garlic bread.

Variation:  Steam mussels and add to the bowl of soup just before serving.  You may add any seafood you wish even lobster if you wish to go wild.  This is a thick soup and serves beautifully in a bread bowl.  Another option is to add some frozen corn if you like.

Have a safe and happy New Year.   Be happy and may God bless you and yours.  

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