Thursday, March 18, 2010

Seafood Chowder for Chilly Weather

This St. Patrick's Day passed with no corned beef and cabbage, nor Irish soda bread. We had a nice green salad with cucumbers and oranges and walnuts, some potatoes roasted with rosemary and garlic (there's the bit of Irish for 'ya), and a steak cooked on the grill. The rain has stopped long enough to uncover the grill and put it to use.

Since none of those seem worthy of a post, I'm going to tell you about the seafood chowder I made when it was still cold and rainy and wintry. It will probably get cold and rainy again, so I'll be prepared...and so will you if spring is still playing hard to get.

Trader Joe's makes a really nice frozen mixed seafood concoction. It has some squid, some baby scallops, and some small shrimp. Along with a can of chopped clams in their juices those mixed seafood goodies were the basis for the chowder.

A true chowder, in my opinion, needs both onions and potatoes. I also like to add some celery, carrot and, if I have it on hand, some red pepper cut into a fine dice. A little butter, a good quantity of milk, and some flour and water to thicken things up all add to the finished product.

Seasonings are pretty personal. I added some garlic, some minced Italian (broad leaf) parsley, and a bit of thyme. Lots of people also add a dash (or more) of hot pepper sauce. I added a dash of cayenne pepper instead. A good grind or two of black pepper finished it off.

The taste of the sea is in every warm, creamy, delicious bite.

I didn't use a recipe book for this, just sort of threw it together one night.

Mixed Seafood Chowder
Serves 4-6

1 medium onion, finely diced
1/2 cup celery, diced
1/4 cup carrot, diced
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 medium russet potatoes
1 cup water
2 cups milk
1 package frozen mixed seafood ( about 1/2 pound each squid, small scallops and small shrimp)
2 cans chopped clams in their juices
1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley - Italian flat leaf if best for flavor
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
dash cayenne pepper (or more if you like it with more spice)
2 tablespoons butter, softened
2 tablespoons flour
salt and pepper to taste

In a large pot, saute the onions, celery, carrots and garlic in the olive oil until soft, about 3-5 minutes. Add the russet potatoes and the water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer, cover pot and simmer until potatoes are tender. Add the milk, seafood mixture, clams, parsley, thyme, cayenne pepper and stir to combine. Cover the pot and simmer for 5 minutes.

In a small bowl mix together the butter and flour. Add to the chowder and stir to combine with the chowder. Turn heat up to medium-high and cook, stirring constantly, until the chowder is thickened. Adjust seasonings with salt and pepper. Serve at once.


  1. Winter will be here soon, I have saved this gem to use in the next few weeks. Yummy!

  2. Elle.. this chowder is calling my name!

  3. I've always enjoyed the creamy taste of a good chowder and this one looks really tasty!

  4. If this is your idea of a "throw together" dinner, I'd like to come eat at your house. This looks wonderfully good.

  5. Never mind the weather (it's 32 celsius in Toscany at present), this chowder looks great, I'll try it this evening! Thanks for the recipe!

  6. Can't wait for chilly weather (it's 32 celsius in Toscany at present), this recipe looks great, I'll try it this evening, never mind the weather!

  7. Anonymous8:13 AM

    This looks incredible, thank you for sharing it with us