Smoky Seafood Chowder:
It’s been a hot and unusually humid summer this year. The kind of humidity that makes you move in a lethargic slow-motion pace. However, nothing will prevent me from mustering the primordial energy to cook something unique and new. New England summers can vary in weather, but one thing remains consistent here – abundance of seafood fresh off the boat, and the need for homemade chowder. This recipe has the classic basics of a New England clam chowder, but with several twists. Purists will say that New England chowder must be thick, creamy, and loaded with clams and potatoes. For this one, we left out the cream and added a companion for the clams. Bay scallops added additional texture and sweetness that complimented the clams, and the absence of heavy cream kept it light as well as healthy. Fresh thyme and a balanced amount of vegetables provided the base. However, the smoked paprika was the real secret ingredient that livened up the crew of vegetables and delivered a unique finish. As much as I love New England and its diverse seasons, I find weeks and weeks of endless humidity to be curtailing and wearing. But nothing like a light crisp chowder to remind you – that slowing down is much the whole point of summer.
SECRET INGREDIENT: Smoked Paprika
TIP: Adding seafood at the last 10 minutes will result in less chewy and tenderer bites of clams
Smoky Seafood Chowder
- Bacon (4 slabs, chopped)
- Leeks (1 large, white part only, quartered and sliced)
- Garlic (2 cloves, minced)
- Celery (2, chopped)
- Fresh Corn (1, husked and kernels cut from cob)
- Yukon Potato (1, peeled, ½ inch diced)
- Fresh Thyme (2 Tbsp, chopped)
- Smoked Paprika (1 ½ tsp)
- Salt & fresh black pepper (to taste)
- Butter (4 Tbsp)
- Flour (4 Tbsp)
- White wine (1/4 cup)
- Chicken stock (1 ½ cups)
- Clams (1 lbs, chopped with juices)
- Bay Scallops (1 lb, tossed with 1 tsp Old Bay Seasoning)
- Fresh parsley (1/2 cup, chopped)
- In a large pot over medium heat, cook bacon until crisp. Using a slotted spoon transfer to bowl and set aside.
- In same pot with bacon fat over medium-high heat, add leeks, garlic, celery, and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add corn kernels, potato, thyme, and season with salt, pepper and paprika. Cook for 2 minutes. Push vegetable mixture to sides of pot, and add butter. When just melted, add flour and cook for 2 minutes to make a light roux stirring occasionally.
- Add wine and cook for 1 minute while stirring, then add stock. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook for 15 minutes until thickened. (for a thinner chowder, add another ½ cup of stock if desired)
- Add bacon and clams with juices, scallops, and simmer on low for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Remove from heat and stir in parsley. Taste and season if necessary.
-- Weather When Posted --
- Temperature: 74°F;
- Humidity: 50%;
- Heat Index: 74°F;
- Wind Chill: 74°F;
- Pressure: 30.2 in.;