Sunday, July 8, 2012

What We Need Is Chowder And I Want More Cowbell.

I love me some cowbell.
Whenever I can squeeze
in a cowbell video, I will.
I got a fever,
and the only prescription
is more chowder cowbell.

 It's summertime.
The temperatures have consistently been
in the high 90s.
What foods, if any at all,
 do you want to beat the heat?
Yes, I'm sure chowder is at the top of your list. 

It's what's cooking in the Hawthorne kitchen today.

Just pretend, Baby, it's cold outside,
and it's snowing,
and you're sitting in front of a roaring fire,
the wind is howling,
Jack Nip is frosting at your nose.
A seafood chowder would really hit the spot right now.

(Whenever is Rosie normal?),
I would not be making a chowder at this time.
But in the efforts of using what we've already used once
and still have on hand,
I'm forced to go with a chowder for lunch.

This is going to be a Moreover Chowder.
Youngest Hawthorne steamed the last of our oysters
the other night and I had about a dozen of them left.
Also, I had that faux Krab mixture 
of King Crab and pollack leftover from
my Spring Rolls and needed to use that up.

So chowder it is.
 I found a batch of shrimp stock
I'd made back in June.

 I thought my quart of stock
had a neat melt down.

 I'm starting out with 4 strips of diced bacon.

 Fry the bacon over medium heat.

 While the bacon is frying ... 
 ...  prepare the veggies:
1 large potato
1 medium onion
1 carrot
2 stalks of celery.

 Give the vegetables a fine dice.

 When the bacon is almost ready ...

 ...  add in potatoes.

 Cook, stirring for about a minute.

 Then add in the rest of the vegetables.

 Stir for about 2 minutes.

 Deglaze the pan with sherry or white wine.
I used sherry since that's what I had.
About 1/4 cup.

 Be sure to scrape up all the goodie bits of bacon.
The pan should be clean on the bottom
after deglazing.
That's all flavor!
 Pour water in to cover - 2 cups here.

 I added in 4 fresh bay leaves.
If you use dried,
go with fewer leaves.
Dried is more potent.

I let this cook at a bare simmer for 25 minutes.

 Then I added a quart of shrimp goodness.

 Do not boil.
Do not simmer.
Just heat with the occasional waft of steam.

Of all the different stocks,
seafood stock requires the least amount of cooking
both time-wise and temperature-wise.

 Oysters in.
 Action shot!

  I don't use this Faux Krab stuff very often,
but I do use it for Spring Rolls
which I recently made, so I need to use the rest up.

All I'm doing now is heating the oysters and Krab through.
 I want to thicken my chowder a bit,
so I'm making a beurre manie
[bur mahn-yay]
(And there's supposed to be an accent over the e.),
or "kneaded butter."
Bur mahnyay is equal parts butter and flour
that you mash together until the flour particles are coated in butter.
When you whisk the beurre manie into the soup,
a tablespoon at a time, the butter melts,
releasing the flour particles without creating lumps,
and thickening the soup.

 I added in a tablespoon of the beurre manie.
Whisk until it starts to thicken.

 I gave the chowder a whiff and added more sherry.
Just a few tablespoons.
I like the smell and taste of a wine.

 I'm putting in the second tablespoon of beurre manie.

 Next I poured in about 1/3 cup heavy cream.

 A third tablespoon of beurre manie went in.
Be sure you let the flour in the beurre manie cook.
You don't want a raw flour taste in your chowder.
Final taste test and season with 
freshly ground salt and pepper.

 Ta daaaaa!

 Rich shrimp flavor
accented by oysters and crab
with an undertone of smoky bacon.

And I learned something today.
About the Krab.
You don't want to heat that shit up.

Heated Krab loses all integrity,
as if it had any with which to start.

Faux Krab is best eaten cold.
The "flavor" is still there after heating,
but the texture totally disintegrates.

Now you can thank me for forging the culinary path
of "WhatNotToDo."
Faux Krab doesn't hold up to heat.
It separates and becomes translucent.

Let that be a lesson to you!

Use real crab meat.
Real white fish.
Not processed.
But you, and I,
 knew that already.
Didn't we?


Marilyn said...

Faux crab meat freezes nicely. Use what you need and put the rest in a zipper bag until you need it the next time. You will find that the texture will be a bit looser, but it will be fine otherwise. I like it cut into about one inch sections, wrapped in a slice of bacon that has been cut in half, skewered with a toothpick, and baked until the bacon is cooked. Serve with a light barbecue sauce if desired.

Rosie Hawthorne said...

Thanks for the tip, Mar. One can never go wrong with bacon.