The idea of this soup is that it does what a well-appointed home cook should do to utilize the whole fish- including heads, shells, and bones. This helps reduce the overall cost of seafood, adding a benefit to the home economist who may need to stretch the family budget without sacrificing healthy and delicious choices on their menu.
After the stock is made and strained, chop fresh mirepoix, dice potatoes, cut corn from the cobs- (which we use to enrich the stock), course grind or chop saved fish scraps from the freezer such as belly trim, scraped racks, and leftover portions. I like to add fresh chopped clams.
Finish the soup with fresh heavy cream, Tabasco, and dry sherry. The result is what I describe as a hybrid between a bisque, New England clam chowder, and corn chowder.
1 gallon of seafood stock
2 cups diced celery
2 cups diced carrot
2 cups diced onion
-Boil for 1 hour
2# diced red-skinned potatoes
3 cups of fresh corn off the cob (reserve cobs)
3 T sea salt
1 T freshly ground black pepper
6 sprigs fresh thyme- whole
2 T Tabasco
Grind or chop and add to the simmering soup:
1# combination of whatever fish trim that you have saved in the freezer
(while simmering well-)
2 cups fresh raw chopped clams w/ juice
Stir in a slurry of 2 cups all-purpose flour mixed w/ 3 cups cold water
Once thickened to desired consistency:
Add 2 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup dry sherry
adjust seasoning with sea salt and pepper
Serve with Oysterettes and a big spoon!
To a 5 gallon pot add:
Leftover lobster bodies and shrimp shells you saved and froze.
4# white non oily fish racks (heads and bones cleaned of gills, scales and guts)
1/2 cup tomato paste
Corn cobs from chowder prep.
Onion peels, leeks, shallots, carrot peels, celery ends, split garlic bulb, bay leaves, fresh thyme, Old Bay. 1 lemon cut in half.
Cold water to cover.
Bring to a simmer and cook for 3 hours.
Strain and reserve for use as chowder base
Non creamy chowder variation:
In order to satisfy non-dairy and gluten-free requests, I have developed another version of the chowder. Simply leave out the cream and flour, and replace them with diced tomato, minced garlic, and saffron.
The result is a very rich and satisfying seafood stew without any of the guilt!