Chowder! Come Get Your Chowder!
The recent BBC series Three Men In A Boat – which visited Maine and the whole Eastern US Seaboard – left me craving some creamy, hearty Chowder (or is it Chowdah?). Although my recipe is probably not authentic (there are no Clams, for a start), it’s perfect for this time of year; the definition of silky, delicious comfort food. It’s not that difficult to make with a little forward preparation, and this recipe makes enough for four, or two for two days if kept refrigerated.
Firstly, chop two large red-skinned Potatoes into cubes (keeping the skin on), and par-boil in salted water until firm enough to take the tip of a knife without crumbling. Drain, and set aside. In a large, heavy-bottomed casserole or pan, sweat one large Leek and one small Shallot with a little Olive oil and a large knob of Butter. In another small pan, fry off chopped, streaky smoked Bacon – about 8 rashers. When the bacon is cooked, add to the Leek and continue to sweat down.
Add one minced Garlic clove to the Bacon and Leek, and then once the Leek is nicely softened, pour on 200g of Double Cream. Stir, and season with Black Pepper. Take two fresh Sweetcorn heads, and with a sharp knife, cut all the kernels off. Use fresh corn – not tinned. Tinned corn goes a little mushy in the Chowder, and you want it to have some bite. Add the corn to the Chowder, along with about half a pint of Chicken Stock. Again, return to simmer.
Next, add seafood to the pan. I use about 150g of Mussels, and about the same of large raw Prawns – chopped in halves. Add them to the Chowder to cook in the broth. All you need to do now is season with a large fistful of chopped fresh Parsley, a touch of Nutmeg, and a couple of Bay Leaves. Stir, and leave to simmer until thick and creamy.
Serve with warmed bread and within two mouthfuls, if you’re not feeling a warm glow spread through you then you’ve got a heart of ice. Beer-wise, you want something light and not too intrusive on the flavours in the Chowder. Anything too hoppy is a no-go.
I enjoyed a slightly chilled bottle of Potholer by Cheddar Ales (4.3%abv). An ever-tasty beer from one of the most reliable breweries in the UK, Potholer is a vibrantly golden beer, with a smooth body courtesy of a touch of wheat malt in there, and a simple, fruity, dry finish. It’s easy-drinking and thus a perfect match for a lot of food. If you have a Wheat Beer to hand, I’d also recommend that. As we know, Wheat Beer and Seafood are perfect partners.
Posted on 14/01/2012, in Beer and Food and tagged Beer to drink with Chowder, Cheddar Ales, Chowder, Food and Beer Matching, Maine, Potholer, Real Ale, Seafood, Three Men in A Boat. Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.