Monday 5 March 2018

Seafood Chowder

Seafood Chowder
While there are many variations of the New England Clam Chowder, soups depend on the stock or broth one uses for the base. Here I have used a vegetable stock which I put together with some boquet garni, a few root vegetables like garlic, carrot, onion and celery, and a tsp of salt. Bring it to a boil and simmer it for up to 3 hours. 
Using fresh seafood makes it par excellence. Using frozen seafood is at best mediocre. Use a fish head if you wish, or fish bones to enhance the flavour, especially if you are not using a variety of shellfish. Adding small pieces of lobster, crab, whatever you find locally makes it exceptional.
There are so many options. Add what you love best. 

Serves 4

Melt in a pot
2 tbsp salted butter
2 tbsp olive oil
1 medium very finely chopped onion
pinch of brown sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp flour
1/4 tsp white pepper powder
1/4 cup of finely chopped smoked meat (bacon, turkey, chorizzo)
Saute` this until it is lightly browned takes about 7 minutes
add a medium potato, peeled and diced

Add 4 cups good vegetable stock.

Bring it to a boil, cover, lower the flame and simmer for 40 minutes. Stir occasionally.
Once it is thick and consistency you desire, add any or all of the following. 

Optionally add any or all of the following
1/4 cup ice brandy
1/4 cup cream at room temperature
1 large handful of  fresh chopped mixed herbs
1 finely diced carrot
1 finely diced stick of celery

Bring all of this to a boil and add the seafood.

Preparing the seafood Wash and add 500 g/ 1.1 lb mixed seafood of choice. Sprinkle them with a touch of salt and saffron. Squeeze a lemon over everything. Set aside after tossing. You can use a combination of mussels, prawns, fish, crab, lobster, and clams. (Remove any open shellfish and keep only those that are tightly closed.)

Once added to the boiling chowder, cover the lid and cook for up to 3 minutes until the shellfish is done. Give the pot a good shake, let it rest for 5 minutes, and serve immediately for best results.


Eat only the open clams and mussels discarding the ones that are still closed. 

Buy the shelled fish on the day of use or leave it overnight on a bed of ice in the refrigerator.

Only wash and remove the beards with a pair of scissors a few minutes prior to cooking. Do not set aside for more than 5 minutes without an ice bath. The mussels and clams will start opening up in the warmth of the kitchen and will need to be discarded. Beards are the thread-like structures that are often found stuck in the shell.

Ice brandy is a white, clear brandy available in any liquor store. Optionally, use white rum, some sherry or gin.

White pepper is the perfect accompaniment to a chowder and enhances the flavours. 

You can serve black pepper at the table.

Slices of crisp or garlic bread may be enjoyed to dunk into the chowder.

My published cookbooks are available for sale through myself and on amazon.

The World of Parsi Cooking: Food Across Borders is a 3 award winning book. It has been self published in July 2019 and will be going into its second print in 2022. 

The Art of Parsi Cooking; reviving an ancient cuisine was published in 2016 by Austin Macauley and continues to be available through amazon book depot book depository and from the publishers.

Photo courtesy Niloufer Mavalvala

1 comment:

  1. This turned out well - thank you. I did not add any smoked meat. For the herbs I added Old Bay Seasoning and as I did not have any Ice brandy, I added white wine. Love soups, so will try your other soup recipes too. Thank you for posting these.