The whole object of travel is not to set foot on foreign land; it is at last to set foot on one’s own country as a foreign land.” – G.K. Chesterton

Saturday, 2 August 2008

Seafood and Vegetable Chowder

This was actually something I cooked awhile back for Rob's birthday dinner (which fell on a weekday in the middle of the week in June) but haven't had time to blog about it until now. I've tasted plenty of chowders, but they've always been a bit too rich and creamy for my taste. However, Rob loves them (there are not many creamy-based food he would reject, if any!) so I thought I'd give a try making something similar at home as a treat on his birthday. Like with most new dishes I try, I looked at many chowder recipes to get an idea, then formed my own recipe based on what is available to me and my preferences. Since I'd have to eat this for my dinner as well, I omitted the cream to make it a bit more suitable for my palate (although I'm sure there are plenty of chowder recipes out there that doesn't use cream). It's also probably not so traditional to use so much vegetables in chowders (hence the recipe title), but it made for a healthy one-bowl meal. And hey, I'm the one cooking it so I get to dictate what goes in the dish, right? Anyway, Rob told me he enjoyed the soup a lot, so I guess it turned out alright!

Seafood and Vegetable Chowder

Serves two, and goes extremely well with crusty bread.


1 tablespoon olive oil
50g (1 or 2 slices) bacon, diced
1 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 celery stalks, diced
1 carrot, diced
1 tablespoon flour
1.5 cups (375mL) fish stock or water
1.5 cups (375mL) milk
1 bay leaf
300g (~3 medium-sized) potatoes, diced
half a can (100-150g drained weight) sweet corn kernels
300g frozen mixed seafood (prawns, scallops, squid rings, clams)
Salt and pepper to taste
Dill and parsley to taste


1) Heat oil in a pot and brown the bacon until crisp.
2) Add the onion and saute for a few minutes on medium heat until soft and translucent.
3) Add the garlic, carrot and celery and saute for a few minutes before adding the flour.
4) Cook the flour for another minute while constantly stirring, and gradually add the stock or water to the pot while constantly stirring.
5) Add the milk, bay leaf and potatoes and bring the mixture to a simmer.
6) Cover and simmer for about 5 minutes or until potatoes are almost cooked (i.e. still crunchy but you can poke a fork through a piece).
7) Stir in the corn kernels and mixed seafood and simmer for a further few minutes until the seafood is cooked.
8) Turn off the heat and season with salt and pepper to taste and
9) Finish with as much dill and parsley as you like. Remember to remove the bay leaf before serving.

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