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Scallop Chowder

Updated on August 28, 2017
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Exploring food facts, folklore, and fabulous recipes... one ingredient at a time.

Mistakes are the portals of discovery.

— James Joyce

OK, perhaps that quote is a bit too lofty and pretentious as an introduction. How about this one?

We made too many wrong mistakes.

— Yogi Berra

This recipe started out as a simple pot of chowder, using scallops instead of clams. Easy enough. Chop and sweat the vegetables, cook some bacon (we prefer low-fat turkey bacon but you could go whole hog if you'll pardon the pun), add some potatoes, cream, and a splash of cooking sherry at the end.

But that's not what happened.

In the midst of chopping, dicing, mincing, prepping I opened a bottle of Chardonnay - a dry white wine. Not expensive, but not cheap, something middle of the road. It was nice, oaky, and before head could overrule heart I dumped a glassful into the pot. It just seemed like a good idea at the time.

A happy mistake as it turns out because, when my husband sampled the chowder, he said it was the BEST he had ever tasted.

Cast your vote for Scallop Chowder

Cook Time

Prep time: 5 min
Cook time: 25 min
Ready in: 30 min
Yields: 4 servings


  • 1 medium (about 1 cup) onion, minced
  • 2 stalks celery, finely diced
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 6 slices turkey bacon, finely diced
  • 1 pound bay scallops
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 4 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1 14-oz can reduced sodium chicken broth
  • 2 large russet potatoes, peeled and finely diced
  • 1 1/2 cups half and half
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon dry cooking sherry
  • chives to garnish, chopped
  1. Place onions, celery, and olive oil in large stock pot over medium-high heat. Cook about 2 minutes, or until vegetables begin to soften.
  2. Add turkey bacon and continue to cook, stirring constantly, until bacon begins to brown and becomes crisp. Remove bacon and vegetables from pot and set aside.
  3. Place one-half of the scallops in stock pot and cook without stirring for one minute. Stir gently to loosen scallops from bottom of pan and cook 30 seconds more. Remove from pan. Repeat this process with the remainder of the scallops. Remove scallops from the pot and set aside.
  4. Add butter to pan. As soon as it has melted, stir in the flour; whisk constantly. (Constant whisking insures that there will be no lumps.)
  5. Add white wine and potatoes to the pot and simmer until the wine is almost evaporated. Stir in broth and continue to simmer until the potatoes are very tender.
  6. Stir in half and half and simmer until heated through. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed.
  7. Just before serving stir in cooking sherry. Sprinkle chopped chives on each serving.

© 2013 Linda Lum


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