Creamy, Hearty, Decadent Seafood Chowder Recipe
Chock full of fish, shrimp, scallops and heavy cream, this easy recipe is decadent and delicious.
Growing up on the land-locked plains of Texas, I never ate clam chowder or seafood chowder because my mom never made it. Because she never made it, I came to think of seafood chowder as some exotic dish that was difficult to make. After ordering it at a restaurant or two as an adult, I learned how delicious it is, but wouldn't have dreamed of making this "exotic" dish myself.
Several years ago I was craving seafood chowder as I listened to my father-in-law reminisce about something he called "Creekbank Stew." I decided that if he, basically a non-cook, could make seafood chowder outside on a camping trip, then surely I could make it in my fully functional kitchen.
I had been making Smoked Chicken Chowder for years, so I used that chowder-making knowledge to develop a seafood chowder recipe. While experimenting with this recipe, I learned that seafood chowder is easy to make, and other than fish, shrimp, scallops and cream, it contains ingredients that I probably have in my pantry or freezer already. With this seafood chowder recipe, you can quickly and easily whip up a hearty, rich seafood chowder that is deserving of company, but also makes for great chow during a Super Bowl party, on Christmas Eve, or any evening spent by the fireplace.
- 1/2 pound bacon
- 1-2 tablespoons garlic, chopped
- 1 large onion, diced
- 2 ribs of celery, diced
- 1/4 cup flour
- 3 15-oz. cans chicken broth
- 1 pound cod, cut into chunks
- 1 pound shrimp, cleaned and deveined, tails removed
- 1 pound small scallops, or large scallops cut into halves or quaters
- 2 cups frozen corn, thawed
- 2 15-oz. cans diced potatoes, drained
- 1 15-oz. can diced carrots
- 1 pint (2 cups) heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon each salt and pepper, or to taste
- In the bottom of your soup pot, stock pot or Dutch oven, fry the bacon on medium heat, turning at least once, until brown and crisp. Remove bacon from pot and set it on paper towels to drain, leaving bacon drippings in the pot.
- Saute chopped onion and celery in the bacon drippings until onions are clear and vegetables are tender. Stir occasionally to prevent vegetables from burning.
- Add chopped garlic and saute one minute longer.
- Add flour and stir to mix together flour and bacon drippings. Stir and cook two or three minutes longer.
- Stir in chicken broth and bring to a gentle boil. Simmer until liquid has thickened.
- Add corn, drained carrots, drained potatoes, cod, shrimp and scallops. Cook and stir until bubbling, then simmer until fish and scallops are cooked through (white) and shrimp is pink.
- Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Add cream and heat until steaming.
- Sometimes adding ingredients such as the fish, shrimp, scallops or corn, carrots and potatoes can change the chemistry of your thickened chowder, causing it to become thin again. If this happens, at this stage you can re-thicken it by mixing together, in a small bowl, 3 or 4 tablespoons of corn starch with an equal amount of water. Once both substances are combined, bring the chowder to a gentle boil and stir the corn starch mixture into the chowder. Simmer a minute or two, stirring constantly until the chowder is evenly thickened.
- Chop or crumble bacon and add it back into the chowder, or crumble and set aside, topping each individual bowl of chowder with a spoonful of bacon crumbles.
- Do not overcook, as shrimp and scallops can become tough. If left simmering for a prolonged period, the cream will eventually curdle, ruining the chowder.
Recipe Notes and Suggestions
Important botulism alert: something I recently learned is that fish pieces which have been vacuum-packed and frozen must be removed from the vacuum packing before thawing. Apparently, the lack of air in this packaging makes it the perfect breeding ground for botulism bacteria to grow once the temperatures dip below the freezing point. Vacuum-packed frozen fish is completely safe to eat as long as you open the packages while the fish is still frozen and allow it to thaw while loosely covered rather than while vacuum-packed.