watched the Food Network last night - Anthony Bourdain ... swoon ... was in Key West having ... conch.
OK, so any suggestions for a substitute for conch meat? I'm keen to try that conch chowder ... minus the non-existent (in Oz) conch meat!
I find that too much of anything in a chowder can spoil the main point. A fish chowder, (cod or haddock) should have an overall fish taste. Same thing with lobster or clam. So,we always use half and half , butter , a wee bit of worcestershire and salt and pepper to taste. The mix should be added hot on hot to a bunch of cut up and previously boiled potatoes and cut onions, add about a quarter of the potato water to help thicken. We like to shuck our clams or oysters and put them into the chowder base raw. Then its boiled once and briefly, just to puff up the seafood A lobster stew (which is a chowder) uses the same base with out the onion, and the lobster is steamed first. (We always add the carapace shell of the lobster during the initial boil, this ads a bit of lobster color< we pull the shells out before serving)
The mixture should allow to sit and get to now itself for about a day before you eat it (one of the simplest things that you can do to bring out a chowdery flavor of the fish or lobster or scallop or clam or oyster variety.
In Lancaster Pa , there is a chowder called "Chicken corn soup".THis is a cooke and torn apart chicken that is mixed in with a sweet corn chower. The salt and pepper are adjusted after tasting. Chicken corn soup is a traditional "County Fair" food and is also served at auctions and other festivals where something warm goes good.
Dont screw around with too many fancy ingredients because it doesnt help . A chowder isnt improved by adding different spices(like garlic or cilantro or stuff like that). Its a fairly delicate flavored soup that relies on the guest of honor to supply most of the flavor.
Fish chowders are always the hardest because there is a fine line between being done and cooking the fish to shreds.
Another key is the ratio of flour/butter and cream/milk. A good rule of thumb is a ratio of 1 TBS flour, 1 TBS butter, and 1 cup milk. Always cook the flour and butter together for a few minutes before slowly adding the dairy, otherwise the chowder will taste like flour. Like farmer, I always use half-and-half. Traditionally, NE clam chowder contains salt pork, but bacon can be used. I use canned clams (chopped, not minced) and bottled clam juice because I can't get good fresh ones in the midwest.
1/4 lb salt pork or 6 slices bacon, cut into small pieces
1 large stalk celery, diced
1 yellow onion, diced
1/2 tsp dried thyme
2 baking potatos, cubed
3 cans chopped clams, drained - juice reserved
1 bottle clam juice
4 Tbs butter
4 Tbs flour
2 to 3 cups half-and-half or milk
white or black pepper
Render the salt pork or bacon in a large pot until crisp. Transfer the pork bits to a paper towel and drain off most of the fat from the pan. Add the butter, celery, onions and thyme; saute about 5 minutes. Stir in the flour and continue cooking for a couple minutes. Stirring constantly to avoid lumps, slowly add the clam juice (about 2 cups total). Bring to a boil and add the potato cubes. Cook until tender (about 5 - 10 minutes, depending on size). Add the clams, cook for one minute, then add the half-and-half and pepper to taste. Return bacon or pork bits and heat through until it's scalding. Don't let it boil or it might curdle.
Hints: do not over cook the seafood in a chowder and don't add salt until you taste it; the salt pork/bacon and clam juice will probably make it salty enough. Control the thickness by using more or less dairy. Two cups gives a not too thick chowder (I hate the paste most restaurants serve). This recipe only takes about 1/2 hours to make. It's best if removed from the heat once it's scalding and then allowed to rest for an hour or a day for the flavors to blend. Reheat to serving temp but be careful that it never boils.
celery can give a stronger taste as can bacon. Salt pork just gives the hgrease and salty taste but noy much flavor. I never add flour. The only thckener is more or less potatoes.
I agree that the **** you get in some restaurants can be like spackle.
Lobster stew , unlike its chowder cousin, isjust cream and milk, salt , butter and lobstermeat, nothng else.
Celery instead of bacon. Good idea!
Lazy Cook's Chowder
(This is good if you're camping and miles away (over crummy roads) from a half-decent grocery store
Save some well cooked bacon from breakfast (you're camping right? You've probably splurged some calories on bacon & eggs and/or pancakes. Snag some bacon and hide it in the cooler 'til lunch). Mix a can of cream of potato soup and a can of clams and heat. Add crumbled left-over bacon. Ta-da! Littlek you could probably drain a can of corn and add as well if you want. I know this isn't what the gourmets among you have in mind for clam chowder but it's tasty camping food and the only way I ever got my kids to eat clams.
I'll report back after my first chowder. Fishy, I think it will be. Not just yet, though. I'm afraid I've had a whole week of soup dinners! (It's been one one of those