Monday, March 23, 2015

Seafood Chowder

Spring can be fickle. One day it's warm and sunny ... The next cool and rainy. This is a great soup for those overcast days. Be sure to serve with a generous bouquet of daffodils and tulips..

This really isn't an authentic seafood chowder which would use several kind of fish. Nor is it a genuine clam chowder which would use corn but no cod. It fits somewhere in-between.

Because bacon can be so expensive, I no longer buy it by the package. Instead, I purchase it by the slice from a local grocer.

This goes together quite simply. You could, of course, use any white fish, just be sure it is meaty. For a bit more zing, you could add a bit of Old Bay's seasoning.

  • 4-6 slices smoked bacon
  • 1 cup chopped yellow onion
  • 3/4 cup chopped celery
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme flakes
  • 1/4 cup crushed saltines, preferably unsalted
  • 2, 6-ounce cans chopped clams, drained, juices reserved
  • 1 large white potato, peeled, chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 bottle clam juice (about one cup) preferably a refrigerated brand
  • 3/4 pound thick cod filet cut into 3/4-inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup Half-and-Half
  • 1/4 cup whipping cream
  • 2-4 tablespoons cream cheese (optional)

In a large heavy pot, cook bacon until crisp. Remove and drain on paper towel leaving behind the drippings. To the drippings in the pot, add the onion, celery and thyme. Sauté over medium heat until vegetables are soft and onion begins to turn golden. If too dry, add a bit of olive oil. Add crushed crackers and stir for about three minutes.

Add reserved juices from clams, the bottled clam juice and the potatoes. Bring to a partial boil. Reduce feat to low and simmer, partially covered, for about fifteen minutes or until potatoes are soft.

Add cod pieces and simmer until fish is cooked through, about five minutes.

Add the creams and, if using, cream cheese and Old Bay's. Simmer on low just until heated through. Add about ten grinds of fresh pepper. Taste and re-adjust for seasonings.

Serve with a bit of bacon on top or simply mix all of the bacon into chowder before serving. 

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