Friday, November 30, 2018

Shrimp And Oyster Chowder!

It's COLD!
Time for a seafood chowder.

I always have frozen shrimp no matter what time of year.
And this time of year, I always have a bushel
 (or fraction thereof) of oysters.
So today, I'm making a shrimp and oyster chowder.
It'll warm your innards!

Follow my directions
and you can have this all done in under an hour.

Here are the ingredients:
  • About a pound of shrimp, shelled and de-tracted
That black line running down the back of the shrimp is the digestive tract, not a vein.  It needs to go.
And save those shells.  We're going to use them for extra flavor.
  • About 2 dozen oysters
Put the oysters in a big pot with a little water, cover, and let 'em steam a bit until they just start to open up.  You don't want to cook them.  Just let 'em crack open a tad so you can easily shuck them for the soup.
  • 1 big carrot, minced (about a cup's worth)
  • 2 celery stalks, minced (about a cup)
  • 1 onion, minced (again, about a cup)
  • 2 potatoes, diced
  • 1 quart vegetable broth
  • 1/2 cup skim milk
  • 1/2 cup cream
 And then you'll need a little oil, some butter, some flour, kosher salt and freshly ground pepper,
a splash of sherry, some fresh parsley, and some oyster crackers.

 Now, just follow along with the how-to's:

Start out with the carrot, celery, and onion.
Almost a cup of each.  Doesn't  have to be exact here.
Mince 'em.

Dice the potatoes.

I poured a little oil in the pot (medium heat) and sautéed the carrots, celery, and onion for about 2 minutes, then I added in the potatoes and stirred the pot around for another minute.

Pour in the quart of vegetable stock and bring to a bare simmer.

While the stock is heating up, peel and de-tract the shrimp.

This little device thingie is real good at what it does.

It peels and de-tracts in one fell swoop.

Save the shells.  We'll be using those in a minute.
Just place them in some cheesecloth.  

These were fairly large shrimp, so I had Mr. Hawthorne scissor 'em up a bit.

When the stock comes to a simmer, place the cheesecloth bundle of shrimp shells in and let it simmer away until the potatoes are tender.  Maybe twenty minutes. Then remove the bundle and discard.

Pour in the milk and cream, turn heat to low, and heat through.

Now, before adding the shrimp and oysters to my soup,
I wanted to thicken it up just a tad.
Just so we got something bone-stickin'.
So, I'm make a beurre manié.  It's sort of like a roux in that it's butter and flour and it's used to thicken a soup.  Beurre manié is French for "kneaded butter."
I took 2 tablespoons unsalted butter and 2 tablespoons of Wondra quick-mixing flour.  You could use regular all purpose flour if you don't have the Wondra.  Work the butter and flour together with your fingers until evenly combined.

Keep working the butter and flour.

Knead away.
Until you have a little dough-ball.
I dropped half the ball into my soup and turned the heat to medium-low and stirred.
Stir and let it thicken a bit.

I decided it needed the other half of the beurre manié, so I dropped that in.

And stir.
Let it thicken a bit more as the butter melts into the soup.
Turn heat back to low.

Drop in the shrimp.
Let the shrimp turn color and they're done.  Maybe a minute or two.

While the shrimp is cooking, shuck in the oysters.
You just want to heat them through.

Soup's done!
Taste test and season with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper.

 I ladled the soup into my bowl and poured in maybe a capful of sherry.
Top it with chopped parsley and toss in some oyster crackers.

 And there you have it!
 Seafood chowder.

I needed this.

  You get good stuff in every spoonful.
Lots of good stuff!


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