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Recipe of the Week: Crab and Corn Chowder with Sweet Corn Broth

March 28, 2018
By LORETTA PAGANINI , Island Reporter, Captiva Current, Sanibel-Captiva Islander

This rich and creamy corn and crab chowder gets its delicious flavor from sweet corn stock and bacon. A perfect combination and a comforting addition to any meal. A favorite soup at my Sapore Restaurant in Ohio, where patrons ask for it even when it is not listed on the menu. I make it when sweet corn is available at the local farmers market, and I cook it in large batches and freeze it in small containers to enjoy later at several meals with the addition of a salad. Makes about three quarts. (Chef tip: Bouquet garni adds flavor to any soup, chowder or stew. It consists of several herbs tied in a cheesecloth bag. Cooked with the soup and then remove before serving it. I like to use fresh herbs when I make it but dry herbs are fine. Take cup parsley, 1 teaspoon thyme, two bay leaves and 1 teaspoon black peppercorn, tie in cheesecloth and use.)

For the sweet corn stock:

4 corn cobs, kernels removed with a sharp knife

2 celery stalks with leaves, chopped

1 onion, chopped

1 large carrot, chopped

1 tablespoon fresh Italian parsley

6 whole peppercorns

1 bay leaf

1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme

2 quarts cold water

Salt, to taste

For the chowder:

1/2 pound bacon, diced

2-4 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1/2 cup dry sherry wine

4 cups sweet corn broth

1 large onion, diced

2 carrots, peeled and diced

2 stalks of celery, diced

1 cup sweet bell pepper, diced (any mix of colors)

1 bouquet garni (parsley, thyme, bay leaf and black peppercorn)

2 potatoes, peeled and diced

2 cups crab meat, cooked and picked through for any shells

1 cup fresh corn kernels, corn cobs reserved

1 cup heavy cream or milk

1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning

1 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste

teaspoon white pepper, to taste

Tabasco sauce, to taste

Italian parsley, chopped for garnish

Prepare the sweet corn stock by placing ingredients in a large pot. Bring to a boil. Cook for 25 to 30 minutes, skimming off the scum as it rises to the surface. Cool and strain. Refrigerate until ready to use.

In a heavy-bottomed soup pot over medium-low heat, render bacon until crisp. Remove bacon with a slotted spoon, leaving behind all the fat. Reserve for later use. Add onions, carrot, celery, peppers and potatoes. Saut until onions are translucent and soft. Sprinkle with flour and stir to form a roux. Add wine and bring to a boil. Cook until pan is dry again. Add prepared corn broth, Old Bay seasoning and bouquet garni, bring to a gentle simmer.

Simmer soup until all vegetables are tender, about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add crab, corn kernels, reserved bacon and heavy cream. Return to a simmer. Season to taste with salt, white pepper and a small amount of Tabasco sauce if desired. Remove bouquet garni and serve immediately with reserved bacon and chopped parsley.

 
 

 

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