When it comes to seafood you usually get two kinds of people, those who love it or those who hate it. I fall into the category of those how love it. I will eat anything that comes out of the water and have never understood people that cant stand seafood. It’s so good and there are so many ways to cook it, as well as so many different dishes that can be made. Seafood has so many different flavors and tastes and things you can do with it. I just don’t get when someone condemns it all. But to each their own I guess. This past weekend I got a craving for clam chowder but while there are a few seafood places in San Antonio to get seafood there aren’t many to get a really good homemade chowder. So I set out to come up with my own recipe and in the process I just went crazy and decided it needed more seafood. This chowder has shrimp, clams, crab and crawfish and is so good that it sings in your mouth when you take a bite (get it Seafood Quartet)…
Anyway. Here is how I did it. (Yes I did have to use some canned ingredients just because finding fresh ingredients like clams is hard to do in the land locked city of San Antonio).
1/2 lb Shrimp (peeled/devained and cut in to small pieces)
1/2 lb crawfish tail meat chopped into small pieces
1 can whole clams (drained but keep the juice for cooking)
1/4 lb crab meat (not imitation)
3 medium sized white potatoes (cut into small cubes)
3 celery stalks sliced into small pieces
1 yellow onion diced into small pieces
1 bottle of clam juice (can usually be found on the canned meat aisle in your grocery store)
3 table spoons ground black pepper
2 table spoons course sea salt
2 bay leaves
4 slices thick sliced bacon (applewood smoked is preferred)
2 tablespoons of butter
1 pint of heavy cream
all purpose flour (2 or 3 tablespoons)
In a large pot you will want to cook the bacon crisp and then remove it to a paper towel covered plate to drain off excess grease. Drain as much grease as you can from the pot without removing the little bits that come off during frying (leaving some grease is fine).
Now add the butter to the pot and let melt on medium heat. Add the Onion and celery to the pot and cook until the start to turn clear.
Now add the potatoes and pour in the clam clam juice (enough to come to the top of the potatoes). Stir in the two bay leaves and increase the heat to high and boil until the potatoes start to soften up.
Now add in all of the seafood (shrimp, clams, crawfish and crab) and reduce heat to medium. Now chop up the bacon into small pieces and stir into the pot. When the shrimp all turn pink go ahead and reduce heat to low and let it cool for a few minutes before moving to the next step.
You are now ready to add the heavy cream. Start stirring it in a little at a time until the whole pot is a nice thick milky color. Now add the salt and pepper and stir in really good and let simmer on low for a few minutes. to thicken it up a bit you will want to add a little bit of flour in at a time. Start with a couple of tablespoons and stir it in until it is completely mixed in to the chowder. Do this a couple more times until you get the desired consistency. Some people may like it thicker or thinner than others, I personally like a thick chowder. Keep in mind that it will thicken up a little as it cools too so you may not want to add a lot of flour or it could come out to thick.
Now you are ready to serve it up and enjoy. It would be great with a nice Cesar salad or garlic bread. I served mine with a crispy garlic, basil gnocchi and it was great.
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