The weather here in Maryland has become decidedly nippy. At times when the chill threatens to penetrate all the way through to my bones this is my favourite way to thaw out.
I’ve eaten more than my fair share of chowder here in the states, in Seattle, San Francisco, Maine and of course Boston (chowdah!) and I love it in all of its variations. My version is far from traditional, it’s got more veg and less cream and butter for a start. You can use any firm white fish or seafood that you like really, I used bay scallops and prawns, but crab and lobster would be delicious if you were feeling especially decadent!
1 tbsp butter
1 heaped tbsp plain flour
1/2 white onion
400ml vegetable or fish stock
200ml full fat milk
4 tbsp cream
1 very large potato
150g diced firm white fish or seafood of your choice
salt and pepper
Finely dice the onion and cut the carrot and potato into small chunks. Melt the butter in a large pan and use this to sweat the onion, you want it to be soft and cooked but not coloured. Stir in the flour and cook this for a few moments to get rid of the raw taste.
Add the stock, a little at a time and stir really well, ensuring that there are no lumps of flour left. Put the carrot and potato in the pan and bring it to a gentle boil. Simmer the soup until the potato and carrot are almost cooked through. It should thicken slightly whilst this is happening.
Add the milk, cream, sweetcorn and seafood and continue to simmer the soup until the fish is cooked through, five minutes or thereabouts. Check the flavour and adjust the seasoning if necessary, I never add any salt (because of the stock) but I like plenty of black pepper in it. Garnish with chopped parsley before serving along with lots of warm crusty bread. Sour-dough is nice with this and if you really feel like showing off you can fashion serving bowls using hollowed-out loaves of it.