Shaudere? Shaudere? It’s Chow-dah! Say it right!
— Freddy Quimby, Mayor Quimby’s nephew
Every so often everything clicks and something amazing happens in the kitchen… this weekend I may have made one of my best creations to date. I don’t know if kitchen karma exists, but for whatever reason today was a good day.
I will say this, give yourself 2-3 hours if you decide to try this recipe. Think of it as a chill low-stress day in the kitchen.
Crab Corn Chowder
you will need:
- 4 cups of chicken broth
- 4 cups of 2% milk
- 1 large sweet yellow onion
- 1-2 shallots
- 1 bunch of celery
- 1 bunch of carrots
- 4 ears of corn on the cob
- 4 cups of cubed young yukon gold potatoes
- 2 lbs crab meat (canned works just fine, make sure it is claw meat, not shredded or lump)
- 1 cup of half & half
- 1 bunch of flat leaf parsley
- 1/2 cup of creme fraiche
- 1 leek stalk
- salt, cayenne, pepper to taste
In a large pot add 4 cups of milk and 4 cups of water. Husk the corn and carefully cut into thirds. Add the corn cobs to the milk and water and bring to a medium boil. I know what you’re thinking… “isn’t the milk going to get all gross and burnt smelling?” I don’t know what to tell you, or what the science is… but for some reason corn and milk boiling smells amazing. Definitely watch the burner, you don’t want a full-on high boil.
If you like to cook you pick up things here and there. I rarely watch food network shows, but just thinking back to odd jobs I had in high school and college I managed to learn some helpful things. (I worked at Dairy Queen in Cedartown, Georgia for three weeks. It was awful, but I learned to very, very quickly peel an onion.) One odd thing my Parisian friend told me was that in France they don’t eat corn like Americans as it’s considered to be animal feed. (Naturally.) But when his Grandmother did cook corn she would boil it in milk… folks, she was right. It’s amazing.
While the corn is boiling caramelize diced onion in a separate pan. After awhile add minced shallot. A little later add chopped celery. One thing I have gotten a lot better at is realizing I don’t need a stick of butter to caramelize an onion. A tablespoon of butter will go a long, long way under low heat.
After the corn kernels are tender remove from the pan. I rinsed some of the milky skin goo off before slicing off the corn.
You will notice by the time the corn is finished the milk will have condensed by about half. Add 4 cups of chicken stock to the pot along with the potatoes. If they are baby Yukon golds you should be able to leave the skin on; if not, you may want to peel your potatoes.
Once the potatoes are tender you can use a hand mixer to blend the potatoes and stock. Then add the onions, shallot and celery.
I added peeled and sliced carrots after all of this because I wanted them to be firm (but tender) as opposed to the potato which I think is kind of the essence of the chowder. You can add the sliced corn at this time also.
Once the carrots were tender I added the crab and reduced the heat to low… by now your kitchen is going to be smelling ridiculous. You can add half & half if you want a creamier experience. I always want a creamier experience… so I opted for a few more calories. Fuck it.
Before serving I dressed up the chowder with a parsley creme fraiche. In a blender I combined about a 1/4 cup of fresh cut parsley and 1 cup of creme fraiche. Additionally I added some fried leeks which, in my opinion, really tied it all together. In a pan add a few tablespoons of whatever oil you fancy and crisp leeks until they are both green and brown.
A day in the kitchen well worth it. Let me know what you think.