This Thick and Creamy Seafood Chowder with is a wonderful way to enjoy seafood. Use whatever seafood you like! Great with fish, shrimp, scallops and/or lobster.
Here in central Ontario, we have just emerged from one heck of a cold snap. Not just the usual Winter cold. Dangerous cold. -40 cold. I know a lot of you were caught up in this one, too. So you'll certainly understand the need for chowder!
I love seafood chowder and it's my favourite winter dinner soup. It's so adaptable to whatever seafood you have around. Here I've used sole and scallops (left-over from this delicious Butternut Bisque with Pancetta and Scallops that I shared a while back.
While this soup may look decadent, much of the "creaminess" comes from the potatoes. There is a relatively small amount of added cream (for 8 servings), so this soup comes in at just about 300 calories a serving, plus all the seafood goodness :)
Cook's Notes for Thick and Creamy Seafood Chowder
For the thickest soup, be sure to use baking potatoes, such as russet. They break down as they cook a bit and act to thicken the soup naturally, without needing to add too much cream.
This soup really needs a generous seasons, especially with salt, to bring out all the flavours of the seafood. Don't be shy. Keep adding salt until the flavours really shine!
You will need 1 1/3 - 1 1/2 lbs. of seafood for this soup. Use whatever combination of seafood you like. I used 1/2 sole and 1/2 scallop for this one.
For the creamiest chowder, you'll want to use heavy cream. If you don't have or don't want to use heavy cream, you could use a light cream, but you'll want to mix in about 1 Tbsp of cornstarch with the lighter cream before adding to the soup, to help thicken the soup.
No need to use fresh seafood or to thaw your seafood ahead, if you don't want to. You can add frozen seafood directly to the poaching liquid. Just note that it will take a few extra minutes to poach from frozen.
Thick and Creamy Seafood Chowder
- 2 Tbsp butter
- 1 small onion (diced)
- 3 ribs celery (diced)
- 4 cups baking (russet) potato, (peeled and diced)
- Water (to cover)
- 2/3 lb sole filet (cubed (or fish of your choice))
- 2/3 lb scallops (whole (or shrimp, lobster etc.))
- 4 cups water
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 /4 medium onion
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup heavy, whipping cream (*see notes)
- 1 pinch nutmeg
- Salt and freshly ground pepper (to taste)
- Cook the vegetables: Melt butter in a heavy-bottomed, large pot over medium heat. Add the onions and cook until softened, about 3 minutes. Add the celery and cook, stirring for 8-10 minutes. Add the potatoes. Add enough water to the pot to just cover the vegetables with water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until potatoes are tender but not too soft, about 10-15 minutes (depending on the size of the dice). Remove from heat.
- Poaching Liquid: In a second pot, heat the 4 cups of water with a bay leaf and the 1/4 onion until just before boiling. Maintain temperature just below boiling and add the sole and scallops. Cover and cook just until seafood is opaque and tender. Remove fish and and scallops to a bowl, reserving the poaching liquid for your stock. Discard the bay leaf and quartered onion.
- Soup: Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the flour, stirring to make a smooth paste. Cook for about 1 minute. Gradually whisk in the reserved poaching liquid until your have a smooth mixture. Cook until it begins to thicken. Return the pot with the potatoes to medium heat. Slowly add the the butter/flour/poaching liquid mixture to the pot with the potatoes. Add the fish and scallops. Continue cooking and stirring until chowder thickens. Add the cream and stir until heated through, but do not boil. Season with a pinch of nutmeg and a generous amount of salt and pepper, to taste.