Smoky Seafood Chowder

Serves 6-8

This rich, briny, creamy, slightly smoky seafood chowder is also easy to put together, and is a sure-fire way to impress dinner guests. Serve it with thick slices of crusty bread and a side of pickles.

Ingredients:

6 TBSP butter

1 turnip, diced

1 stalk celery, diced

1 carrot, diced

3 leeks, trimmed and sliced into half moons

1 potato, diced

Salt, pepper, and garlic powder to taste

1 cup flour

1 cup dry white wine

4 cups seafood stock

2 bay leaves

several sprigs fresh thyme, tied into a bundle with kitchen twine

2 cans cherrystone clams, juice reserved

1 can chopped clams, juice reserved

1 tin smoked oysters (discard the oil but do not rinse the oysters)

2 fillets white fish such as haddock, chopped into bite-sized pieces

1 (8 oz) bottle clam juice

¼ cup heavy cream, or to taste

Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

Heat the butter in a Dutch oven over medium heat and add the vegetables. Sprinkle with a heavy dose of salt, pepper, and garlic powder and sweat until they’ve begun to soften, about 10 minutes.

Add the flour and coat the vegetables evenly, cooking for 2 minutes so as to cook out the taste of raw flour. Turn the heat up to medium-high and add the white wine, stirring vigorously, scraping the bottom of the pot to dislodge any stuck flour. Add the seafood stock a little bit at a time, allowing the flour to absorb the liquid and scraping the bottom of the pot before adding more so that the mixture is smooth. Add the bay leaves and the thyme; bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Allow to simmer for 10-15 minutes, until the vegetables are tender.

 Turn the heat up to medium-high and add the clams with their juices, oysters, and fish. If the chowder is too thick, add the extra clam juice. Return to a simmer, then stir in heavy cream until the chowder is the desired consistency and paleness. Turn off heat, taste to adjust seasonings, and serve immediately with a few twists of freshly cracked black pepper on top. 

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