Seafood-based chowder just reminds me of the beach. There’s something about the briny taste of the ocean in my food that makes me long to stare at those crashing sea waves for hours. My trips to the coastline always include trying crab-based dishes. DelMarVa’s serene beaches, California’s sapphire Pacific Coast, and even Florida’s tropical Keys beckon to me to EAT CRAB!
My Roasted Corn and Crab Chowder is a take-off of the usual seafood chowder with some unexpected smoky roasted corn kernels, roasted red peppers, chopped green chiles, diced potatoes, sweet lump crabmeat and crispy bacon. My sweetly spicy, smoky, and briny chowder is a cream-based New England-style chowder — a combo of tastes I’ve acquired visiting and living in many different places. As an ode to my locale, using locally-sourced food is important to me, so I use Maryland-based crabmeat in this recipe. Those of you on the West Coast can use Dungeness crab meat with the same results. If you can’t find fresh crab meat, you can use pasteurized crab meat.
One of my favorite food products is roasted corn. Trader Joe’s sells frozen pre-roasted corn kernels by the bag. The roasted corn’s smoky flavor adds depth to my Roasted Corn and Crab Chowder. You can use regular corn and add some smoke flavor if you can’t find roasted corn. Or you can roast your own corn on your BBQ grill. Cooked ham, chicken, or shrimp are great additions if you can’t find fresh or pasteurized crab meat or prefer a less expensive option. You can find the roasted red peppers in a jar at Trader Joe’s. Use Yukon Gold potatoes or even red potatoes as they will usually hold their shapes better than russets.
Seafood stock adds a briny ocean-y flavor and depth to this dish. I use Kitchen Basics brand seafood stock. You can substitute chicken stock/broth if you can’t find seafood stock in your area.
From the kitchen of A Food Lover’s Delight….
Roasted Corn and Crab Chowder
2 T butter
2 shallots, chopped
2 packages Trader Joe’s frozen roasted corn, thawed
2 Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled, and cut into 1/2″ dice
3 cans (14.5 oz. each) seafood broth/stock or chicken broth/stock (the seafood stock gives a really rich flavor)
2 c lowfat or skim milk
1/2 c heavy cream
1 can chopped green chiles
2 roasted red peppers, cut into 1/4 inch dice
8 oz. lump or backfin crab meat, fresh or pasteurized, picked over for shell fragments
Salt and Pepper, to taste
1/2 c Cheddar cheese, finely shredded
2 slices bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled
1 T chopped fresh parsley
1. Melt butter over medium heat in a stockpot.
2. Saute shallots in butter until translucent.
3. Add seafood or chicken stock/broth and bring to boil.
4. Add potatoes and cook over medium heat until potatoes are tender but not falling apart.
5. Stir in roasted corn, green chiles, and roasted red pepper.
6. Simmer, uncovered, for 15 minutes, stirring often.
7. Add milk and cream. Reduce heat to low and cook until mixture reduces a bit. (Can thicken with a cornstarch/water mixture if not becoming thick enough.)
8. While the chowder is reducing, cook the bacon to crispy, crumble, and set aside.
9. Add crab meat and heat through. Season with salt and pepper.
10. Ladle into soup bowls.
11. Garnish with some shredded cheese, crumbled crispy bacon, and chopped parsley.
Serves 4 as a main course. Serve with oyster crackers or hot crusty bread. This chowder also goes well with a sliced tomato and cucumber salad with my Lime Cilantro Dressing, Tarragon Balsamic Dressing or Lemon Thyme Vinaigrette.
Variations: Substitute cooked ham, chicken or shrimp for the crab meat. Use regular corn if you can’t find roasted corn. To lighten this recipe, cut back on the milk or cream and use more seafood/chicken stock/broth. Use a tablespoon of cornstarch mixed with some water as a thickener if using less milk/cream and more broth. Omit the shredded cheese and bacon. Use turkey bacon instead of pork bacon.
www.afoodloversdelight.com (Copyright Adroit Ideals 2013)