Blanski Seafood Chowder
This seafood chowder won the coveted Souper Heroes honor of first empty slow cooker at our Hey Hey event. It showcases a bounty of fresh ingredients and is sure to be a hit at your next dinner. So dive on in and give this recipe a try. Recipe and photos by Ryan Blanski.
4 ounces bacon (4-6 strips)
2 tablespoons butter
1 medium onions, cut into 3/4-inch dice
4-6 cloves garlic
6 to 8 sprigs fresh summer savory or thyme, leaves removed and chopped (1 tablespoon)
2 dried bay leaves
2 lb russet potato
5 cups Strong Fish Stock (make your own ahead of time!!!)
Kosher or sea salt and freshly ground pepper
3 lb skinless haddock or cod fillets, preferably over 1-inch thick, pin bones removed
1lb sea scallops
1lb shrimp peeled
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
Heat a dutch oven or cast iron pot over low heat and add the bacon. Once it has rendered a few tablespoons of fat, increase the heat to medium and cook until the bacon is a crisp golden brown. Transfer the cracklings to a small ovenproof dish; reserve.
Add the butter, onions, garlic, savory or thyme, and bay leaves to the fat in the pot and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon, until the onions have softened but not browned, about 8 minutes.
Add the potatoes and stock. If the stock doesn't cover the potatoes, add a little water. Turn up the heat and bring to a boil. Cover the pot and boil the potatoes vigorously until they are soft on the outside but still firm in the center, about 10 minutes. If the stock hasn't thickened slightly, smash a few of the potato slices against the side of the pot and cook for 1 to 2 minutes longer.
Meanwhile, Coat scallops in salt and pepper. Then, in a fry pan, sear scallops in oil on high heat. 3 minutes on each side. Remove from heat and rest. Also remove shells from shrimp. I cut them into thirds to make them bite sized, but this is not necessary.
Reduce the heat to low and season assertively with salt and pepper (you want to almost over season at this point in order to avoid having to stir once the fish is added). Add the fish fillets, seared scallops and deshelled shrimp to soup, and cook over a low heat until the fish and shrimp are almost done, 5 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat and allow the chowder to sit for 10 minutes (the seafood will finish cooking during this time).
Gently stir in the cream and taste for salt and pepper. If you are not serving the chowder within the hour, let it cool a bit, then refrigerate (only cover the chowder after it has chilled completely). Otherwise, let it sit for up to an hour at room temperature, allowing the flavors to meld.
When ready to serve, reheat the chowder over a low heat; don't let it boil. Chop the bacon and warm in a low oven (220 degrees F) for a few minutes.
Use a slotted spoon to mound the chunks of seafood, the onions, and potatoes in the center of large soup plates or shallow bowls, ladle the creamy broth around and scatter the cooked bacon bits over top. Finish each serving with a sprinkling of chopped parsley and minced chives.