Lobster and Shrimp Chowder

I love a good chowder in the winter; it’s a wonderful comfort food served up with some crusty Italian bread. This fall I found a southern inspired seafood base that I wanted to try, and picked up a three-pack of Chilau Seafood Sauce (one each of original, citrus, and gumbo). This chowder will definitely become one of my staples. It has just the right amount of warm heat from the Chilau Seafood Sauce base, not a fire-breathing spiciness.

Chilau

I used lobster tail meat and Argentinian Red shrimp, which our local grocer has started stocking. One thing I am definitely missing from Charlotte is the fresh fish markets! 🙂 In this recipe I also used lobster juice. Bar Harbor sells it in 8 oz bottles; alternatively you can use seafood stock, lobster stock, or clam juice. This recipe would be equally as good with other types of seafood or fish – scallops, calamari, lump crab, halibut, etc.

Chowder1 (2)

Let’s get cooking!

3 Tbsp Kerrygold butter
1 cup onion, chopped
1 cup red bell pepper, chopped
3 large Yukon Gold potatoes, chopped
2 cups corn (frozen works well if out of season)
1 cup Chilau Seafood Sauce (I used Original)
8 oz Bar Harbor Maine Lobster Juice
1 cup crushed tomatoes
3/4 cup heavy cream
Juice of one lemon
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
1 lb lobster tail meat
1 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 cup dry white wine

Melt butter in a dutch oven or stockpot over medium heat. Add onions and peppers and saute until soft, about 7 minutes. Add the potatoes and corn and stir well to combine. Add the seafood sauce, lobster juice, crushed tomatoes, heavy cream, lemon juice, salt, and pepper; bring to a boil.

Reduce the heat and simmer until potatoes are fork tender (about 20 minutes, depending on the size of your chopped potatoes). Do not over cook.

Add the lobster, shrimp, and white wine. Cook for an additional 5 minutes until seafood is just cooked. Remove from heat.

Serve with: shaved Parmesan, quartered lemons for a hit of acid to finish, and crusty bread. Enjoy!! 🙂

 

 

 

 

Tomato and Bread Soup – Pappa al Pomodoro

Lidia Bastianich is one of my favorite professional chefs, specializing in Italian and Italian-American cuisine; I’ve used a number of her recipes for inspiration. She’s the author of eight cookbooks, five of which are accompanied by a national series on Public Television. Her style of cooking is fresh, authentic Italian; based heavily on family traditions. In an interview, Lidia expressed her opinion on food and family:

‘Food for me was a connecting link to my grandmother, to my childhood, to my past. And what I found out is that for everybody, food is a connector to their roots, to their past in different ways. It gives you security; it gives you a profile of who you are, where you come from.’

The lovely dish I made today, Tomato and Bread Soup, is a bright summer meal; the tomatoes and basil bursting with flavor, and the bread adding a hearty texture. I made this with canned San Marzano tomatoes, but I will definitely try it later in the summer when tomatoes are at peak season. I also left the crusts on the Italian bread, as I like some of the bread to stay in small chunks. If you’d prefer the bread to completely disintegrate, remove the crusts before adding to the soup.

Tomato and Bread Soup

I adapted this recipe from ‘Lidia’s Favorite Recipes’. This is a great cookbook to start with if you don’t have one of her cookbooks and want to try some wonderful Italian dishes.

3 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup finely diced Vidalia onion
6 cloves of garlic, smashed
Three 28-oz cans of San Marzano tomatoes
2 cups vegetable broth
Five 1/2 inch thick slices of stale Italian bread, cut into 1-inch cubes
10 fresh basil leaves, washed
Freshly grated Parmigiana-Reggiano

Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a deep, heavy pot. Add the diced onion and cook until it starts to wilt, approximately 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until golden, about 6 minutes. Crush the tomatoes with your hands in a large bowl, or with a food mill. If you’re crushing with your hands, be careful – some of them burst with juice when crushed.

Add the tomatoes and their juices to the pot. Add the vegetable broth and bring everything to a boil, stirring occasionally. When the tomatoes have boiled for 10 minutes, season with salt and pepper. Add the bread and basil leaves to the pot and bring it back to a boil. Drop the heat so the soup is still simmering, low to medium-low. Simmer uncovered, whisking occasionally to break up the pieces of bread. The soup will be silky and dense after about 40 minutes.

Season the soup to taste with additional salt and pepper if needed. Serve in warm bowls, drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil. Provide grated parmigiana-reggiano on the side. Enjoy!

Makes about 2 quarts; serves 8.