Sunday, October 7, 2012

Cooking From the Pantry - Crab Chowder

Whether you’re at a fancy restaurant, deli or bistro it is always great to start a meal with comforting bowl of chowder or soup.  While you are enjoying your first course, the soup or chowder is so good that you savor every spoon full with the intention of seeking out all the flavors you can identify, so you create this chowder at home yourself.  Well this restaurant inspired chowder is from Crisper's -  a little bistro deli not far from where I work.  The chowder is called “Kickin Crab Chowder” full of wonderful flavors but lacking one thing and that was crabmeat.  So I am creating my version of this chowder full of flavor and also lots of lump crabmeat.


Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp. Olive Oil
  • 2 tbsp. Unsalted Butter
  • ½ cup of flour
  • 3 cups Fat Free – Chicken Broth
  • 5 cloves garlic (diced)
  • ½ medium onion (diced)
  • 1 cup fat free half & half creamer (room temp)
  • 1 tsp. Creole Seasonings
  • 1 tsp. Cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp. Old Bay Seasoning
  • 2 cups Corn
  • 16 ounces Lump Crabmeat
  • ½ cup Red Bell Peppers (dice)

Step # 1 – Making the Roux   Cook time about 3 – 5 minutes
 In a medium sauce pan, add olive oil and butter.  Once the butter has melted and combined with the olive oil, sprinkle in the flour.  Cook over gentle / low heat, stirring constantly with wood spoon, for about 2 minutes.  (Your roux should be light yellow color, do not let it get dark.)  Remove from heat and gradually stir in room temperature half & half, adding a little at a time and stirring constantly until the cream is incorporated before adding more.  When all the milk has been added, return to the heat and cook, stirring until thick and smooth.  Then add creole seasonings, cayenne pepper, and old bay seasoning. (See special note about making Roux) (Set aside for next step).

 Step # 2 – let’s get down to the chowder
 In a 3 - 5 quart soup pot, add chicken broth, garlic and onions and let simmer for about 5 minutes.  Then add your roux, blend all ingredients well.  Now add corn and bell peppers.  Season to taste with salt and pepper, let simmer for another 3 – 5 minutes.

 Step # 3 - Add the crabmeat to that chowder
Add crabmeat and be careful not to break up the lumps.  Let simmer 3 -5 minutes then serve in soup bowls and garnish with fresh chives.  This chowder is great with French bread, crackers or parmesan cheese toast, and this chowder has crowd pleasing possibilities. Enjoy

Special Note about Roux
Roux is a cooked mixture of flour and fat, traditionally clarified butter. It is the thickening agent of three of the mother sauces of classical French cooking: sauce béchamel, sauce velouté and sauce espagnole. Butter, vegetable oils, or lard are commonly used fats. It is used as a thickener for gravy, other sauces, soups and stews. It is typically made from equal parts of flour and fat by weight.






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