Friday, November 27, 2009

Pacific Coast Seafood Chowder

Pacific Coast Seafood Chowder
~From the Kitchen of Once Upon a Plate
8 to 12 servings, depending upon portion size

6 Tablespoons butter, softened to room temperature
6 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
1 or 2 slices of bacon, diced
1 cup carrots, sliced
1 cup celery, sliced
1 medium onion (about 3-inches in diameter), small dice
1 garlic clove, minced
4 cups (about 2 or 3 medium size) potatoes, peeled, and cut into ½-inch to ¾-inch dice)
¼ to ½ teaspoon dried thyme
1 bay leaf
32 –ounces* chicken broth (homemade, canned, or boxed). May substitute part of chicken broth with bottled clam juice
2 cups milk (or more depending upon how thin you like your chowder)
(Total 1 ½ pound Seafood) ---Choose one or a combination of the following to equal approximately 1 ½ pounds:
- Shrimp, medium size (31 to 40 count per pound) raw, peeled, deveined,
- clam meat or 2- [6 ½ ounce] cans chopped clams with juice,
- diced raw, boneless firm-flesh fish (cod, halibut, snapper, salmon.)

1/2 teaspoon salt (to taste)
1/4-1/2 teaspoon white pepper, ground
½ teaspoon hot sauce, OR a sprinkling of Cayenne powder; optional (more or less, to your liking)

Note: I don’t season with salt until the end of cooking time as the bacon, butter, chicken & clam broth add salt to the dish.

In a small bowl with a fork mix the butter and flour until thick paste forms; thoroughly blended and smooth. Set aside. (This is Beurre Manié, the classic French sauce thickener.)

• In a large pot or Dutch/French oven heat oil over medium heat and brown bacon until just crisp.
• With a slotted spoon remove crisped bacon and set aside.
• Remove all but 1 ½ Tablespoons oil/bacon fat from the pot.
• Add diced onions, celery and carrots to pot and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Don’t allow them to brown, just begin to soften.
• Next add minced garlic and diced potatoes to the pot; stir for a minute or two.
• Add bay leaf and thyme, then chicken broth (clam juice if using)
• Bring to a simmer and cook until potatoes and carrots are just tender.
• Stir in milk until mixture reaches a simmer.
• Stir in Beurre Manie, 1 tablespoonful at a time, stirring all the while, allowing each addition to dissolve and thicken the liquid before adding the next tablespoonful. Reduce heat slightly, if necessary so mixture does not scorch.
• Add seafood and reserved bacon; simmer gently until the shrimp and fish are just cooked through. This will only take a couple of minutes. Do not overcook.
• Taste for seasonings and adjust chowder to your taste.

If chowder is thicker than you like add additional broth or milk and heat through until hot. Ladle into bowls or mugs and garnish with fresh minced parsley or fresh thyme leaves. Serve hot.

** For this recipe I use 32-ounces of chicken broth, and keep one- 14.5 ounce can nearby to add more broth as needed.


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