- In a large dutch oven, I fried up about 7 slices of bacon I had kicking around my fridge
- Once they were done - and I didn't cook them until very crisp, just until cooked through and they had some colour - I removed them to a paper towel to drain
- I deglazed my pan with about 1/2 - 3/4 cup white wine and stirred well to bring up the bits from the bottom of the pan
- I added 2 diced medium onions and sauted them until translucent
- Added 3 medium white potatoes and 2 sliced carrots
- Poured in enough water to just cover this, added some salt and pepper to taste and a sprinkling of dried oregano, then brought it to a boil
- Simmered it until the veggies were tender
At this point, I took a potato masher and gave the mixture a rough mash - I didn't turn it into a puree or anything resembling mashed potatoes, though. Just mashed it enough to make the chunks smaller. This also helps to thicken the chowder. To this I added:
- 1/2 lb thawed raw large shrimp
- 1 large salmon filet, skinned and boned, about 8 ounces
- the bacon, which I had chopped up
I let these cook thoroughly before adding
- about 1/2lb fresh mussel meat (out of the shell, coveniently enough; I found this yesterday at the local Chinese grocer)
- 300g fresh clam meat (also conveniently out of the shell; I found this at my favourite grocery store, The Real Canadian Superstore)
- 1 bottle (about 250mL) clam juice
- 2 large cloves of garlic, crushed
I let this heat through for a few moments before adding 1 cup of whipping cream. One this was heated through, it was ready to serve.
Notes for the Readership...
- Deglazing is a fancy term for adding a liquid, usually some sort of a stock or wine, to a pan that has just had meat browned in it. The deglazing brings up all the bits left from the meat off the bottom of the pan, which contain a lot of flavour. Always deglaze; you're just chucking out flavour otherwise.
- Don't do anything stupid like take an immersion blender to the potato/carrot mixture. You want chunks here, remember, not a puree. A potato masher can be purchased super cheaply at a dollar store. You can use it for other dishes, too, like making homemade refried beans and other stuff.
- You can use any type of seafood you like. I put in what I liked and what I could find. Fresh is best. Canned clams are fine; add 2 tins with their nectar and skip the bottle of clam juice. Other canned seafood I wouldn't recommend because of the sodium factor.
- Never boil or simmer the soup after the cream has been added; it will split.
- I always add my crushed garlic to anything after the main liquid ingredient has been added because this keeps the garlicky flavour nice and mellow but still noticable. I never saute garlic with the onions because it tends to caramelize and go bitter, and I can never taste the garlic when I do this. You will not have garlic breath, I promise (unless you add tons); it'll mellow out in the heat of the liquid.
- Don't skimp on the bacon, or skip it altogether, for God's sake. Bacon is superb for adding smokey, salty flavour to just about anything.
- I don't peel my potatoes when adding them to any soup. The peel is where the bulk of the vitamins and nutrients are, as well as the fibre. Don't use a baking potato; not a nice texture in a soup. I like new white or Yukons, or even the red skinned ones.