Now that the weather is getting chillier here in the Northeast, more and more of us are cooking up big pots of soup at home. Traditionally considered a comfort food, seafood chowder is the kind of fish recipe that will warm you up and keep you feeling satisfied for hours. This particular seafood chowder happens to get some of its kick from the amazing flavor of bacon. You can use regular strip bacon in this recipe, but we like to buy the uncut blocks and slice it ourselves.
- ½ lb. bacon, chopped
- 2 onions, finely minced
- 3 carrots, cubed
- 3 medium sized potatoes, cubed
- 3 stalks celery, cut into chunks
- 2 c. water (less for stew/more for thinner soup)
- 3 tbsp. flour mixed with a small amount of water
- 1½ lbs. fresh chopped clams
- 2 lbs. fresh white-fleshed fish fillets
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- .5 c. heavy cream or half & half
- 1 lb. cooked shrimp
In large soup pot, sauté the bacon until slightly cooked, then add the vegetables and continue cooking until potatoes have softened slightly. (Note: Butter can be substituted for the bacon.)
Add water and the water/flour mixture, season with salt and pepper, and let the vegetables simmer for about 1 hour to create a base stock for the chowder. This should thicken during cooking – if not, add a second measure of the water/flour mixture.
Check the flavor of the base stock, and add more salt and pepper, as necessary. At this point, the potatoes and carrots should be tender – almost soft. Add clams, and simmer gently for another half an hour.
Increase heat to just below a boil, and add the fish. Cook until flakey (about 10 minutes), being careful not to overcook.
Finally, lower the heat to a gentle simmer, and then add the cream and the pre-cooked shrimp until the shrimp are warmed through. Thinner seafood chowder can be served as soup, while thicker chowder – especially if the fish has been left in large pieces – can be served over freshly cooked rice.