Since we began traveling to the east coast, we have been on a quest for the best cup of seafood chowder. There have been many tasty samples along the way, but I think our favourite, as yet, has been the offering from the Water-Prince Corner Shop in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island. I believe we first heard about this little bistro on You Gotta Eat Here (Food Network), though I’m struggling to find the episode. However, Food Network does list a recipe for the Water-Prince Corner Shop Seafood Chowder.
Being on a bit of a tight budget, we can’t dine out too often. When a friend made a delicious seafood chowder for us one Sunday, and told me how I could make a decent chowder at home, I was totally on board. He said he just used a frozen seafood mix from the grocery store. No. Way. I don’t have to prepare all of the seafood? The mix includes shrimp, scallops, haddock, probably other white fish as well. I forgot to keep the packaging. Ummm…yes, please! The recipe I used was based on this one: Beaucoup Seafood Chowder, described as a “classic seafood chowder from Nova Scotia” at Tasty Kitchen. In my research I also read this hint for making a great chowder: Don’t skimp on the fish…you don’t want a chowder that tastes like the fish just swam through it! I thought that was pretty cute. And instructional.
Here’s how I made mine:
Easy Seafood Chowder
In a large dutch oven, cook the following in a little oil (or butter if you don’t have diary-free needs) until soft:
2 diced onions
2-4 stalks of diced celery
2-4 carrots, diced
2-4 potatoes, cubed
Add enough water, or stock to cover (I happened to have fish stock I’d made when we had purchased salmon). Cook until potatoes are just tender.
Add your herbs and spices. I used:
1 tablespoon dried basil
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon celery salt
1 tablespoon Old Bay Seasoning
fresh cracked pepper to taste
Check your seasoning before adding salt! Mine was quite salty. Add extra salt to taste, if needed.
Layer a bag of your frozen seafood mix on top (I think it’s 1 1/2 to 2 pounds). I added extra scallops (just ’cause I could…yum!), but you could add any extra frozen fish or seafood you like. Add more liquid just to cover. Cook until just done. It won’t take long. You can at this point add any canned or pre-cooked fish or seafood (maybe clams?), as well–I added some salmon I had already cooked. Next time, I’ll throw in some lobster we put in the freezer.
At this point, I scooped out a couple of portions for my dairy-free girl*. It is now time for the pièce de résistance – cream.
1 cup of 18% M.F. cream (coffee blend) to start, then added more, a little at a time, until I had as much liquid as I desired. You could also use 1 cup of heavy cream, then add milk until you have your desired consistency.
Heat through at a bare simmer until ready to serve**. Give it a quick stir before dishing out, as the seasoning will tend to float.
*For a dairy-free option, we add full fat canned coconut milk to the base. Again, it’s all to taste. For the amount I’d reserved for my df girl, I used about 2/3 of a can. It was delicious. She was ecstatic to once again savour one of her favourite soups!
** It is worthwhile to note that this is actually better on the second day. When reheating, just be sure to heat on low. Do not let it boil! Give yourself plenty of time…it will take a while.
This made a ton of chowder! We enjoyed this for dinner, then had lots to share the next day with a lovely couple who were visiting as they passed through our area. There was still enough for a couple of cups to try in the freezer. I’ll let you know if it does well being frozen.
Naturally, we needed some biscuits to go with our meal. Because my cookbooks are all in boxes, along with my favourite biscuit recipe, I’ve been using this one (although I usually omit the egg): Perfect Biscuits from Mom on Time Out.