Crab and Corn Chowder

Once you learn the basics of soup-making, it becomes fun to experiment and come up with new creations. And I like to make soup for dinner about once a week, for several reasons — it’s an easy meal that can be made ahead of time, a good way to use things up that might otherwise spoil, extras can be frozen for a later meal, and, lastly, I just love to eat soup! The recipe below is an original creation of mine that has become a favorite in our house. This soup is easy to make and most definitely restaurant quality.  It has a little thickness to it, but it’s not as rich (er, full of fat) as its cream-based counterparts.

1 quart homemade fish stock from shell fish (recipe below)
olive oil (about 3 Tbsp.)
1 cup chopped red or white onion
1/2 cup chopped red, orange, or yellow bell pepper
1/2 cup diced carrots
1/4 cup chopped parsley
2 Tbsp. Emeril’s Essence (click to get the recipe)
3 Tbsp. tomato paste
1 cup whole milk
1 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels
1/2 pound crab meat, picked over for shells

To make the stock:

The stock that I use for this recipe is made from crayfish shells, but stock from lobster or crab shells will do, too. Simply save the cleaned shells from 1-2 pounds of crayfish (each pound will yield about one quart of stock). Cover the shells with water in a large pot and simmer gently for 30-45 minutes. While it’s cooking, leave it alone, except to remove any foaming at the top with a spoon. When done, remove and discard the shells, then strain the stock through a fine-mesh sieve. Then strain it again through the sieve lined with a coffee filter. Use immediately or refrigerate or freeze for another day.

To make the soup:

Heat a large soup or stock pot over medium heat. Add a few tablespoons of olive oil — enough to coat the bottom of the pan — then add the onion, pepper, carrot, parsley, and one tablespoon of Essence.

***Let me just take a moment here to talk about Emeril’s Essence.  I use this in my cooking a lot and always have some of it around. It’s a really good spice mix for fish, meat, roasted vegetables…whatever. I know that it is available to purchase, ready-made, but it is very simple (and, I bet, a lot cheaper) to make on your own, and it requires only a few basic spices that many people regularly have on hand. My one alteration is that I omit the cayenne pepper — I have a 3-year-old that doesn’t take too well to heat — but if you like it spicy, cayenne away!***

Ok, back to the recipe…cook the vegetables and spices for about 6-7 minutes, adjusting the heat, if necessary, so that nothing burns. Turn the heat down to medium-low and stir the tomato paste around with the vegetables for 1-2 minutes. Add the stock and bring to a simmer. (Note: pre-heat the stock before adding it to the pot so that the soup doesn’t stop cooking.) Taste, and add up to one more tablespoon of Essence to the soup for flavor. Simmer, covered, for about 10-15 minutes, until the vegetables are soft. Remove the soup from heat and, with a wand blender, puree the broth and veggies until smooth. If you don’t have a wand blender, you can leave the soup chunky or use a regular blender, but be very careful not to burn yourself if transferring the hot soup out of the pot. Return the soup to the stove and add the milk. Bring back to a simmer, then add the corn and crab meat. Simmer for about 5 more minutes, and it’s ready to go!

Serve with some croutons or crusty bread. Delicious!

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  1. Wine Bits: A Bit on Pairing and Hosting, Part 1 « Two Dancing Buckeyes

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