Chowder, or Chowda as the locals say, is popular in Salem. Many diners and pubs feature clam chowder high on their menu as either an appetizer or a complete meal with fresh bread. Two establishments, Tavern on the Green in the Hawthorne Hotel and also the wildly popular Red’s Sandwich Shop, offered amazingly delicious seafood chowder. Here at Crowded Earth Kitchen, we’ve done our best to recreate authentic seafood chowder, loosely based upon a heart-healthy clam chowder recipe from Taste of Home. We think the recipe below is pretty fabulous – even the kids asked for seconds. Enjoy!
Ingredients (Serves 4 – 6)
2 slices bacon, diced
1/2 cup diced onion
1/2 cup diced carrot
1/2 cup diced celery
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 large Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into bite-sized cubes
3 cups good quality chicken stock
6 ounces tilapia (frozen and thawed is fine), cut bite size
1/4 cup flour
2 cups fat free half-and-half
2 cans (6 1/2 ounces) chopped clams, undrained
6 ounces cooked shrimp, peeled, tails removed
1/4 teaspoon celery salt
1/4 teaspoon crushed, dried thyme
Step 1) Fry bacon in a stockpot until crisp; remove bacon bits but do NOT wash the pot!
Step 2) Saute onion for 2 – 3 minutes in bacon fat. Add carrot, celery, and garlic; saute for an additional 2 minutes.
Step 3) Add potatoes and chicken stock; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for 10 – 12 minutes or until potatoes are almost (but not fully) tender.
Step 4) While potatoes are cooking, whisk together flour and 1 cup of the half-and-half. Be sure to whisk well and eliminate any flour lumps!
Step 5) After 10 – 12 minutes have passed, add flour mixture and tilapia. Gently stir over medium heat for 2 or 3 minutes, until broth thickens and tilapia turns from translucent (raw) to white (cooked). If broth does not thicken, bring pot to a boil and then immediately reduce heat
Step 6) Reduce heat to low. Stir in remaining half-and-half, clams and their liquid (the entire contents of the cans), shrimp, celery salt, and thyme.
Step 7) Ladle soup into serving bowls and garnish with bacon bits. Serve with crusty bread.