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Zesty Seafood Chowder

by Judith Finlayson

Zesty Seafood Chowder

This robust chowder is a lip-smacking meal-in-a-bowl. I love the hint of smokiness balanced by the heat of the jalapeño, says author of Slow Cooker Comfort Food, Judith Filayson.

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Serves 6

  • Medium to large (31?2 to 5 quart) slow cooker

 

4 oz    smoked bacon, diced    125 g
2    leeks, white part with just a hint of green,     2
    thinly sliced
2    stalks celery, diced    2
2    cloves garlic, minced    2
1 tsp    Cajun seasoning    5 mL
1 tsp    dried thyme leaves    5 mL
1 tsp    salt    5 mL
1?2 tsp    cracked black peppercorns    2 mL
2 tbsp    all-purpose flour    25 mL
1 cup    dry white wine (see Tips, page 138)    250 mL
2 cups    fish stock or 1 cup (250 mL) each bottled     500 mL
    clam juice and water
2    potatoes, peeled and diced    2
3 lbs    small clams, cleaned (see Tips)    1.5 kg
1 lb    firm white fish fillets, such as halibut or     500 g
    snapper, cut into 1-inch (2.5 cm) cubes
1 cup    corn kernels, thawed if frozen    250 mL
1 to 2    jalapeño peppers, seeded and diced    1 to 2
1 cup    whipping (35%) cream    250 mL
    Finely chopped parsley


In a skillet, cook bacon over medium-high heat until crisp. Drain well on paper towel cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

Reduce heat to medium. Add leeks and celery to pan and cook, stirring, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, Cajun seasoning, thyme, salt and peppercorns and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add flour and cook, stirring for 1 minute. Add wine, bring to a boil and boil for 2 minutes.

Transfer to slow cooker stoneware. Stir in fish stock and potatoes. Cover and cook on Low for 8 hours or on High for 4 hours, until potatoes are tender.
Discard any clams that are open. In a large saucepan over medium_high heat, bring 1 cup (250 mL) water to a rapid boil. Add clams, cover and cook, shaking the pot, until all the clams open. Discard any that do not open. Strain cooking liquid through a fine sieve into a bowl. Using a fork, remove clam meat from shells. Add clam cooking liquid and meat to slow cooker, along with fish fillets, reserved bacon, corn, jalapeño and whipping cream.

Cover and cook on High for 10 minutes, until fish is cooked through and flavors meld. Ladle soup into bowls and garnish with parsley.