Crab and corn chowder
In anticipation of a week of boating in the Bahamas, I made a big pot of corn and crab chowder. In the Bahamas, of course, what you find is conch chowder. Lots of conch chowder. Not only conch chowder, but conch fritters, conch ceviche and conch everything. The beaches throughout the Bahamas are strewn with big beautiful pink and coral conchs. You can tell if the conch has been removed from the shell because there are holes cut through the shell.
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Not having access to conch in Southern California we made do with canned crab from Costco. While a far cry from fresh crab, Costco’s canned crab is well priced, has a long shelf life and is great to keep in the fridge for last minute crab cakes or soup.
- 2 dried ancho chiles, seeded
- 4 slices bacon
- 2 onions
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 celery stalks, finely chopped
- 3 carrots, finely chopped
- 1 red pepper, diced in ½” pieces
- 5 ears corn, husked and kernels removed
- 2 T all-purpose flour
- 1 pound Yukon gold potatoes, diced in ½” cubes
- 6 cups chicken stock
- 1 t Old Bay spice
- 1 t Spanish paprika
- 2 t Worcestershire sauce
- 2 t salt
- 1 pound canned lump crab (unless you are lucky enough to have fresh)
- 1 cup cream
- 1 handful fresh parsley, chopped
- lime squeezes
- Put the ancho chiles in a small bowl and cover with hot water. Let rest for 30 minutes.
- Cook the bacon over medium-high heat in a Dutch oven or large heavy-bottomed pot until crisp. Remove the bacon and let drain on a paper-towel lined plate. Set aside.
- Saute the onions and garlic in the residual bacon grease for about 5 minutes until soft. Add the celery and carrots and sauté over medium heat for another 5 minutes. Add the red pepper and corn and sauté another 5 minutes.
- Sprinkle the flour over the vegetables, stirring over medium high heat. Cook 3 – 4 minutes until the flour bubbles and begins to brown. Whisk in the chicken stock and add potatoes, Old Bay and Spanish paprika, and bring to a boil.
- While the soup is coming to a boil, remove the ancho chiles from the bowl and put them in a food processor or blender. Whirl to chop and add ¼ cup hot water and whirl again. Add the chile puree to soup. When pot comes to a boil, reduce the heat to medium/low, add crab and simmer until potatoes are al dente.
- When the potatoes are done add cream and season with Worcestershire sauce, salt, fresh cracked pepper and parsley. Taste and adjust seasonings.
- Serve in individual bowls with lime wedges and garnish with crumbled bacon. I recommend serving with big hunks of crusty garlic bread.
THIS SERVES WELL WITH