Presenting this chowder to a group of friends, the first reaction I got was “crab chowder?” I grinned thinking, “yes, that is a bit unorthodox,” but after reading on preparing for this post, I learned that chowders could be almost anything and is more associated to the pot it’s cooked in, chaudière in French, than the clams and cream that made it famous.
In Southern Illinois, chowder not only refers to the cauldron the stew is cooked in but the event for which it is prepared. The headlining ingredients will include beef, chicken, tomatoes, lima beans, but more traditionally squirrel. While in Newfoundland, fisherman would throw their day’s catch into a large cooking pot while preparing that evening’s meal.
This is a recipe I adapted from a Lobster Corn Chowder recipe. The changes I made fit into my pantry and budget. The most interesting is the Chinese Rice Wine that filled in for the white wine this recipe called for. It may be a bit sweeter than the recipe intended, but it accents the subtle sweetness of the crab quite well. Enjoy.
4 slices of Bacon, diced small
1 medium Onion, diced small
1 Celery rib, diced small
1 Carrot, diced small
1/2 teaspoon Kosher Salt
1/4 teaspoon Thyme
1/4 cup All-Purpose Flour
6 cups Vegetable Broth
1 large Red Potato, diced 1/4 inch cubes
2-3 ears Corn, kernals cut off the cob
1 pound Crab Claw Meat, coarse pulled apart
3/4 cup half and half
2 teaspoon Chinese Rice Wine
Kosher Salt and Black Peppercorns, coarsely crushed, to taste
Heat a dutch oven or large pot over medium low heat. Once the pot is hot, sautee the bacon for about 5-7 minutes, or till the bacon has browned. Stir in the onions, celery, and the carrots and cook for about 5-7 minutes, or till the vegetables are softened. Add the thyme, then the flour and stir to combine.
Pour in the vegetable broth and stir till the flour is fully combined with the broth. Turn the heat up and bring to a boil. Add the potatoes and lower the heat so the soup is simmering. Let the potatoes cook for about 15 mintues or till tender.
Add and combine the corn and crab. Continue to simmer for another 5-7 mintues. Turn off the heat, then stir in the half and half and rice wine and salt and pepper to taste.
Adapted from Soups, Strews & Chilis by America’s Test Kitchen