This time of year in Washington, I want hearty warm meals like soup, stew, and chowder. Some of my stew recipes simmer for hours to reduce and thicken, so I make a huge batch that I can freeze for a quick meal later. But sometimes I want something right away and don’t have any in the freezer. That’s when my seafood chowder steps up to the plate. This is such an easy seafood chowder recipe, and totally satisfies that heartiness craving.
Seafood chowder can be expensive to make if you’re using fresh seafood, but I make it really affordable by using frozen and canned ingredients. I buy a big bag of frozen shrimp, but usually only use 3-5 shrimp per person in any given recipe, so that makes shrimp an affordable protein option. Another fun thing with this recipe is you don’t need to thaw the shrimp first. It makes it really fast and easy.
Canned clams were only 85 cents a can at our local Hispanic market. Because they come in juice, I didn’t even need to buy a bottle of clam juice! For the vegetables and potatoes, make sure you chop them pretty small, about the size of a fingernail. Fish sauce smells pretty bad, but it’s an amazing ingredient that adds such incredible flavor. It might make your house smell funny. Eric got home for lunch yesterday and said “Man it smells funny in here!” But when he ate the chowder he said “It might have smelled weird, but it tastes great! Can I have seconds?”. One important tip for fish sauce, hold it up to the light and make sure you get one you can see through like tea, not that looks like soy sauce.
I’m leaving for Mexico tonight. I’m so excited to attend the Food Blogger’s Camp and learn from pretty much the BEST food bloggers in the world. I’ll miss my husband a TON, but know I’ll be having lots of fun too. I plan to do some posting while I’m there and share some photos with you, so come back Monday to see what’s going on!
Seafood Chowderserves 4-5
1 TBS canola oil
4 minced garlic cloves
1 red or yellow onion finely chopped
2 carrots peeled and chopped
2 stalks celery chopped
3 red potatoes chopped
3 TBS fish sauce
2 cups milk (I used 2%)
1/4 cup cream
2 cans chopped clams
10-15 frozen shrimp
1 TBS chopped dried bay leaves
1 TBS chopped dried parsley
sea salt, pepper, and additional fish sauce to taste
Place oil, garlic, and onion in a large pot. Heat on medium high until they start to sizzle. Stir and add carrots, celery, and potatoes. Stir and cook on medium for a few minutes, until carrots start to soften.
Add fish sauce and stir again. Pour in milk and cream. Simmer for 5 minutes, add clams (including liquid) and frozen shrimp, then bay leaves and parsley. Simmer another 10 minutes. Taste and add sea salt, pepper, and additional fish sauce (if needed) to taste. Garnish with fresh herbs of your choice, I used Thai basil.
Approximate cost/serving: Pair this with some sourdough bread to feed 4-5 people. The whole pot of chowder is around $6.50 to make, so if you feed 5 it’s only$1.30 a serving!
Vegetarian/Gluten Free: If you eat seafood, this is a great dish for you. If not, skip the clams, shrimp and fish sauce, add a few more potatoes and salt and pepper to taste. Read the label for your fish sauce, some contain wheat, but not all.