Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Crab Chowdah - CHOW-DAAAH

News Flash: I'm having trouble discovering what life outside of school should be like. Seriously - I have no idea. For the past 2 years... I've worked, gone to school, and then squeezed in some cooking in between study breaks.

And now... I work. Hang with my husband (which is addicting). I cook. A lot. I've helped Megan maintain sanity during the final stages of wedding planning. And I started training for this. And I haven't been writing. As I struggle with my "blogging identity", I am constantly amazed at the bloggers who can post witty and insightful things day after day - sometimes daily. I am still trying to learn, and I appreciate your patience as I continue to try. Because my cooking jazz hands are too jazzy to quit this. *jazz hands*

Manhatten Style Fish Chowder

In the mean time, let me introduce you to my new favorite soup. Manhattan-style crab chowder. Pronounced "Chow-DAH". Say it: CHOW-DAAAH! It has enough substance with the potatoes and carrots to stick to your bones as winter noms. It has enough fresh seafood and light flavor to be satisfying even in the summer. And it is, while a little indulgent, insanely tasty.

Manhatten Style Fish Chowder

The original recipe (from her holiness, Martha Stewart), is for a simple fish chowder. But I saw an episode of Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives from ages ago, from some restaurant on the east coast, where they served this incredible crab chowder. And I almost licked my television screen. And this idea of a crab chowder stuck in my head. Of course I knew it had to be Manhattan style because the cream would overpower the seafood (and my intestines). And despite the fact that I hate tomatoes, I *love* using them as a base for soups. Especially because they tend to break-down as they cook. I help this along by using whole tomato puree. If tomatoes are not your enemy, feel free to use crushed, or even whole, canned tomatoes. Just be sure to crush them slightly with your hand as you put them in the pot.

Manhatten Style Fish Chowder

Please do not use Krab in this recipe. I have done many terrible, hateful, delicious things with Krab - including using it in Krab cakes (Kosher AND cheap?? Don't mind if I do...) but that will simply not do. There are several things that make this soup simply un-Kosher-fiable: (1) crab. Seriously. (2) Bacon and the rendered fat from which the soup is built off of. Butter and oil won't get you there. Sorry, not sorry. (3) Nearly half of the stock is clam juice. I was a little wary... but don't be. And you just can't get that flavor from fish stock (which is probably half shelf-fish anyways). So embrace the treif (non-Kosher-ness) and give this soup a big hug. With your mouth. Not your shirt. That would be messy (and you'll notice how laundry wasn't on any of my lists above?? Laundry sucks, y'all).

Manhatten Style Fish Chowder

Recipe is adapted from the great and wonderful Martha Stewart.

  • 4 slices bacon, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2 medium carrots, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise (~1 cup)
  • 3 celery stalks, halved and sliced diagonally
  • 1 can (28 ounces) crushed tomatoes in juice (I prefer San Marzano)
  • 2 bottles (8 ounces each) clam juice
  • ~1 1/2 pounds baking potatoes, peeled and cut into 2-inch chunks
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 pound skinless cod fillets, cut into 2-inch chunks (remember to ask them to de-bone this, as well)
  • 1/2 crab meat, picked over for shells
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper


  1. In a large 5-quart pot or Dutch oven, cook bacon over medium-low heat until browned and crisp, 8 to 10 minutes, leaving the fat. Add onion, carrots, and celery; cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 10 minutes. Add tomatoes and their juice, clam juice, and 1 1/2 cups water; bring to a boil.
  2. Add potatoes and thyme; reduce heat to simmer. Cook until potatoes are tender, but not falling apart, 15 to 20 minutes.
  3. Add cod; cover, and cook until opaque and flaky, about 2 minutes. Add crab and cover until warmed through, about 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. With a ladle, spoon solids and liquid into six soup bowls; serve immediately with sourdough bread.

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