Lately, I've been wishing for seafood chowder, so that was the order for dinner tonight. I think it was triggered when my brother went fishing in the Suwannee River near here and brought me some fillets of fish. It's incredibly simple and delicious to make, so give it a try sometime.
1 shallot or small onion very finely diced
1/2 stalk of celery finely diced ( I used the top half and the leaves also for flavor)
2 -3 Tablespoons of butter
4 oz cream cheese
1 bottle of clam juice
1 cup of water
1 1/2 teaspoons chicken bouillon powder
1 pint half and half
8 oz heavy cream
4 - 6 oz fish or any amount you want roughly chopped into bite sized chunks
4 - 6 oz of uncooked shrimp or any amount you want
8 oz can of oysters plus the liquor in the can
1 small can of clams plus liquid
1 Tablespoon chopped fresh parsley ( I like Italian parsley for the flavor but the curled French will do.)
Note: You can use any seafood you like- doesn't really matter- the more you add, the thicker and richer the chowder will be. Or you can use just one type of seafood- this really doesn't matter- do it according to your own preferences.
Use a heavy bottomed pot big enough to hold all the chowder. Melt the butter gently and add shallots (or onions) and celery and saute very gently till they are tender. (Do not let the butter brown.) Add clam juice, water and bouillon powder and stir till dissolved. Add clams and juice and bring the mixture up to a gentle simmer (this means just a few bubbles along the side of the pot, not a boil. Then, add half and half, cream cheese and cream and again bring it up to a gentle simmer while stirring to dissolve the cream cheese (never boil the creams!) When the temperature is right, add the oysters and liquor along with the fish and shrimp. Very gently simmer until the shrimp turns pink, fish is opaque and white and the edges of the oysters are a little curled. Do not overcook- the seafood will be tough. At the end, add the fresh parsley and stir for about thirty seconds. Remove from heat and enjoy.