I love summer time in Traverse City, MI, but I love it even more for having the farmers market downtown. Last week I went to John Cross, a fantastic old school fish market in Charlevoix, and stocked up on shellfish. Now, I’m allergic to shellfish, but I will die for a good lobster tail, oh yes I would! Anyway, I was bound and determined to get the rest of my ingredients at the farmers market for a chowder. And really, you CAN call this a chowdah because it’s that good. The market did not let me down. With the exception of the celery all veggies came from the farmers market.
Now, I love sneaking in veggies in my soups, but I didn’t want to bastardize the chowder either, so I kept it simple. But please, no hate mail from those who are chowder purists. LOL I wasn’t even going to blog this, but Jim is insistent that I post my “recipe”. Some of the stuff I measured, most of it, I didn’t. Cooking (unless you are baking because that’s a different story) should be about breaking the rules and throwing in a bit of this and that. Feel free to put your own unique spins on my chowder recipe and then tell me about it.
3 quarts chicken stock
1 pint heavy cream (I stayed local and used Shetlers)
1 pint of half and half
8 oz clam juice
1/2 cup sherry (if you can’t drink it, don’t cook with it)
1 bunch of celery, chopped
2 bunches of sweet onions, chopped (equivalent of 1 large vidalia)
1 bunch of small carrots, peeled and chopped
1 pint of a mixture of baby zucchini/squash, diced (Olds Farm)
8 large cloves of garlic, chopped
8 redskin potatoes, peeled and chopped
1 pint of a mixture of baby redskin/fingerling/baby yukon gold potatoes, diced (yes I realize I have potatoes listed twice, but some are to be pureed and some are to be left whole)
8 ears of corn, stripped from the cob
1 pound of scallops, cut into large bite sized pieces
1 pound of shrimp, peeled and deveined, cut into large bite sized pieces
1 and a half pounds of jumbo lump crab
1 pound of crawfish tail meat
4 TBSPN granulated garlic
2 TBSPN Old Bay
1 TBSPN ground mustard
1 TSPN celery salt
1 TSPN nutmeg
Salt and pepper to taste
6 TBSPN Butter
*please note that if you want a thick chowder you will need to make a roux and then adjust the seasoning accordingly*
Place 4 TBSPN butter in a large stock pot and saute the celery, onions, carrots, zucchini/squash, 8 peeled redskins, and the garlic. Let this cook for about 5-7 minutes until the onions become translucent.
Add in the chicken stock, the clam juice, and the sherry. Stir and cover with a lid. Cook over a low heat until the veggies are EXTREMELY tender. At this point, you are going to puree the soup. You can use an immersion blender or a regular blender. If you are using a regular blender, do it in small batches so that it doesn’t explode. I used my immersion blender and pureed the soup until everything was well incorporated.
To the pureed soup, add in the corn, the remaining potatoes, the seasonings, the heavy cream, and the half and half. Stir, cover with the lid, and continue to cook on low.
In a large saute pan with the two remaining TBSPN of butter, saute the scallops, shrimp, and crawfish tail meat. You will only need to cook for a few minutes as you just want a nice golden brown color to the outside of the shellfish. You will continue cooking it in the soup. Once par cooked, add to the soup.
Once you have added in the shrimp, scallops, and crawfish meat, you can add in the crabmeat to the soup pot as well. Continue cooking on low, covered, until the potatoes are fork tender.
Serve with your favorite oyster crackers and NEVER EVER buy chowder in a can again. : )