Or in our house... CHOW-DI-AIRE (Said in a strong French accent!)
Most people say to me... What's a Chowder? and my reply is always-
"The best god damn thing you'll ever eat!"
But to get a little more descriptive for you.... It's a creamy; but not too creamy, slightly thick; but not too thick, chunky soup that is seriously BURSTING with flavour and will warm every inch of your body on a cold winter night! Normally, its thickened with flour, but not with me it ain't!
The flavour choices are endless, but my absolute favourite has got to be Seafood Chowder. If you only ever make one thing I tell you to, MAKE IT THIS ONE!
So lets start with your Mise en Place! 'MEIS-ON-PLUS' (Chef talk/ French for "Everything in its place, Meaning, get everything you need ready and prepped to cook.)
So first thing- Put a large pot on the stove on a medium to low heat.
Add a large whack of butter in there and let it melt.
Add 1 large brown onion, finely diced and 2 medium carrots, finely dice. If you happen to have some random other soup veggies in your fridge such as celery or turnips, you're more than welcome to use those as well.
N.B. the reason we finally dice is to make it look pretty at the end, if you're more of a 'whats on the inside' kinda person, don't worry about the pretty and just chop away!
Cook that out on a low heat until the onion is a little translucent without colour. (Chef talk- We call this "sweating")
While they're sweating away, chunky dice some favourite seafood ingredients such as
-Prawns (raw, peeled and deveined)
-Fish (I prefer a white fish but you can absolutely use a red fish if you like)
-Squid (baby squid is my preference but again, you do you, boo!)
And then also get ready any muscles or clams you wanna throw in! No need to dice these, incase you didn't notice.... they have a shell... and you can't.
If you have any left over bits of seafood such as offcuts or shell, keep them aside! We make a little flavour package using them and muslin cloth (or a fresh chux and an elastic band). Lets call it our Jizz Pack.
Now your veggies should be nice and fragrant. Pop in about 2 cups of water and if you have made your self a Jizz Pack, pop that in too!
Let this simmer for about 10 mins.
Pour about 1.2ltr of cream into this. Whether that be 2x 600ml Thickened Cream's or 4x 300ml Pure Creams- Whatever you've got on hand, you won't change the result choosing one over another.
Bring this to the boil and immediately turn it down to a simmer.
N.B. WATCH YOUR POT! Until the lactose is finished burning off, the cream will want to boil over. When you see it starting to rise closer to the top, take it off the heat for a few seconds for it to go back down. You'll have to do this for the first 10 or so mins.
Simmer this for about 15 mins.
Now we should be ready to add our clams or mussels. Pop them in the pot so they are submerged and let it simmer for another 5mins.
Now you're going to add all of your seafood chunks and let simmer for just 1-2 minutes.
Now remove your Jizz Pack and throw it away.
Add 4 Palena Fresh Dill Cubes (or half a bunch of fresh dill if you have it) and a few really good sized pinches of pink salt. If you're not a Dill fan, you can swap this out for Parsley.
Turn the heat off and let it sit on the stove for about 10 mins. Don't worry, this will still be SCORCHING HOT for at least 30 mins. You will see the Chowder has slightly thickened.
With a ladle, Scoop out the soup, creating a pile of 'ingredient' in the bowl with creamy soup all around it. Make sure you sit your shell fish up nicely like a chef would!
Crack some fresh black pepper over and serve with some crusty warm Palena Fresh Garlic Bread or Dinner Roll.
YES. YES. YES!