Introduction: Seafood Chowder Served in a Bread Bowl
If you have fussy eaters amongst your friends and/or family, you know that introducing new food is at best difficult, at worst impossible. I keep trying to find ways to modify ordinary recipes to make food more appealing to all the fussy eaters in my family and this is one of those dishes.
The first time I served regular seafood chowder to a table of six people, three of them cried and only two people at that table were children. No one even tasted the food, they ordered pizza instead and I was stuck eating chowder for 4 days straight.
I never understood how someone can eat chicken nuggets every day of the week, but the minute you give them grilled chicken they refuse to eat it. Seafood however is a bit more tricky. I’m a huge fan, but even I have to admit I try not to look at oysters and mussels too closely while eating them. I modified a chowder recipe to convince my fussy eaters to at least try the soup and (to my great surprise) it worked. I make it every few weeks and it never disappoints. I attribute my success to two things: chopping all ingredients into unrecognizable pieces and using bread as bowls. Bread bowls seem to make food fun, so most people will at least try whatever is inside.
This recipe is quite flexible when it comes to ingredients. You can choose which seafood to use depending on its availability. You can also add more/less fish or omit it completely. Instead of white potatoes, use unpeeled red potatoes. Add corn instead of carrots or scrape vegetables completely. Don't add flour if you eat gluten-free, use gluten-free soup thickener instead.
This recipe is for 4 servings.
Aim for 150-200g of seafood and fish mixture per serving. I ended up using 920g which yields about 230g of seafood per person. It could be stretched to 5 servings of 180g seafood per person.
I used frozen clams, frozen mix and whatever leftovers I had in the freezer.
130g clams (just the meat)
400g mixed seafood (octopus, mussels, squid, prawns)
120g fish sticks
270g salmon (use other fish or a fish pie mix)
A handful of raw prawns
1 medium white onion
1-2 celery ribs
1-2 TBS olive oil, oil or butter for frying
400-500g potatoes – grated
2 medium carrots – grated
4 TBS all purpose flour
1 cup whole milk
1.2l stock (fish/veggie/chicken; I make mine by dissolving 2 stock cubes in boiling water)
½ cup cream
Handful of chopped parsley
Nutmeg, salt, pepper, paprika to taste
4 loaves of round, crusty bread
Step 1: Onion and Celery
Peel an onion and chop it into small pieces. Do the same with celery.
Over medium heat fry them together with a glug of oil until onion softens and turns translucent. Meanwhile, whisk flour and ½ cup of water to create slurry. Be thorough, no lumps are allowed.
Step 2: Thickening
Once onion and celery are cooked through, take the pot off the heat. Pour in approximately 2 cups of broth, add the flour slurry and whisk it in. Turn the heat back on and whisk continuously until flour cooks and thickens the broth. Once it’s thickened, dump the rest of the broth and milk into the pot and bring it to a boil.
Step 3: Veggies
Peel and grate potatoes and carrots. Keep them separately if possible. Potatoes cook longer than carrots, so they will be the first to go into the soup. Once your broth begins to boil, turn the heat down to medium, dump the potatoes in, stir and cook for 5min.
Step 4: Raw Seafood
While potatoes are cooking, chop raw seafood and fish into small pieces. Add them to the pot together with grated carrots and cook everything for 5 more minutes.
Step 5: Cooked Seafood
Chop all cooked seafood together. Mine were pretty unrecognisable by the end and that’s how I like them, but you can cut them into bigger pieces if you want. Add that to the pot and cook for further 5 minutes.
Step 6: Seasoning
Turn the heat off and season the chowder. Add salt, pepper, a pinch of nutmeg and paprika. Pour cream in, add chopped parsley and stir. If the soup is too thick for your liking, add more broth or water to thin it out.
Step 7: Bread
Grab your loaves and cut the tops off with serrated knife, reserve the tops for dunking. Use a small knife and your fingers to hollow the bread. Serve immediately.
Step 8: Enjoy
Second Prize in the
One Pot Meals Challenge