Monday, October 25, 2010

Seafood Chowder

So a while back I made some Seafood Chowder. I was planning on posting the recipe right away, but life happens.  So here's the back-story.  As a kid I was allergic to tomatoes, or so I thought.  So instead of tomato soup, I had canned clam chowder.  
Years ago, I made a clam linguine for friends after having it at a Little Italy (yes in NY) restaurant with Sukoshi Fahey and Don Graves during my first time in New York.  It changed my world.  I decided the world needed more clams!  

Thus came to the decision that I should make a heartier Clam Chowder.  Now over the years I've added things to the canned soup, herbs, more veggies, more clams.  But this time, I started with the ingredients, no can.  You see, since I quit smoking, I gained a bunch of weight.  Who the hell could blame me?  My dad died of lung cancer and I wasn’t a happy camper.   So, 30 lbs lost thus far since March and all I’ve been doing is revising my eating habits, walking, and keeping busy.  It also helps to have friends encourage you!  You can eat whatever you want, but with consequences.  I haven’t eaten a real hamburger in about 10 months.  I use turkey, chicken, fish (love salmon burgers) and finally I don’t crave it.  Same with Salt.  Have you ever looked at the sodium content in food?  It’s a preservative!  So, why not make it yourself.  Cut your sodium intake by 80%!  You’ll feel less bloated and have more energy!

So with those thoughts in my head, during a little cold and chilly afternoon, I was craving seafood and soup.  Homemade Clam Chowder time!  I knew I had mussels and shrimp in the freezer.  Had veggies in the fridge, all I needed was Cream, Clams and Oysters.  I got home from the store, ready to simmer! 

Here’s my rough recipe!  Feel free to add or subtract your favorite seafood!

BNB Seafood Chowder
1/2 lb. Shrimp
1 large can Clams in juice
1/4 lb Mussels
Few legs of Crab (optional)
1/4 lb of oysters - small cocktail will do; in water or oil
1/4 lb Bay Scallops
1 Red Onion
1 sticks celery
2 Potatoes
2 cloves garlic
Sea Salt
1 stick butter
1 cup cream
Clam Juice
Herbs (mixture of Rosemary, Parsley, Thyme, Chives, Basil)
Spices (Paprika, salt, black pepper, cayenne)

Here’s my rough directions.  One thing you’ll need to remember is that these are estimates.  Feel free to add more or less of anything.  It’s not rocket science.  I use a pinch of this, little bit of that.  So here are the directions:

  1. Prep all your items.  Remove the shells and rinse seafood.  Chop the onion, celery, and garlic.  Make sure you reserve the liquids from the canned seafood.  If you don’t, you’ll need at least ½ cup of clam juice.
  2. In a 3 quart pan, Cook the shrimp, scallops, oysters, mussels and clams with some diced onion and garlic.  Add a few slices of butter and a pinch of sea salt.   Once pinked, make sure you chop into pieces (I use my kitchen scissors).
  3. Remove seafood from pan and set aside. 
  4. Add 2 cups of water to pan (with seafood juices) and the remaining reserved seafood can juices.   Reduce over a slow boil.
  5. In a separate pan, cook the celery and remaining onion and garlic until slightly soft.
  6. Cook the potatoes in the microwave, whole (the cheater method). Once done, dice. Careful, they’ll be hot!
  7. When the liquids are reduced by at least an inch, add potatoes, seafood, and celery mixture.
  8. Now it’s time to add the butter.  Add the remaining butter in cubes or slices, so it’s easier to melt.
  9. Slowly work the liquids up to a boil, and before it does boil, slowly add the cream.
  10. Stir, stir the mixture!  You don’t want the soup to break, so keep it to med-med/low. 
  11. Taste test.  Add more spices or herbs to your taste.  If the sauce needs more cream or butter, add now
  12.  Bring to a boil and reduce to low. 
  13. Simmer for at least 30 minutes, but I prefer an hour. 
  14. Serve with warmed garlic bread, grilled cheese or crackers!
  15. Once cooled, store in freezer jars to give to friends or for lunches!
  16. Reminder:  The longer it simmers, the stronger and thicker the soup!

Here’s how mine turned out:

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