Welcome to Direct Your Dining! This cooking series will introduce you to energy efficient recipes full of tips to keep your meals delicious without using every appliance in the kitchen. Preparing recipes with energy efficiency in mind at least once a week will make cooking a little easier, and may even help reduce your monthly electricity bill. Check in every week for a new recipe full of flavor and creativity that will surely impress your friends and family.
With the return of pumpkin spice lattes, football season, and Oktoberfest beers, it’s time to enjoy some low energy use recipes perfect for the fall weather. Today’s one-pot seafood chowder is rich, creamy, quick to make, and will satisfy a big family during those cool fall nights.
I recommend using a enameled cast iron Dutch oven for this dish because it holds in the heat well and distributes it evenly during cooking. If you do not have such a vessel, any large pot on your biggest burner on the stove will be your best option. Besides, the fresh seafood and canned clams will come to the right temperature quickly, reducing your cooking time and energy use.
For another great time- and energy-saving swap, pick up a bag of pre-made hash browns or cubed potatoes from the refrigerator section at the store. You know the ones where they are already mostly prepped and softened, and all you do is heat them up? Yeah, those. They prevent you from washing, peeling, and cubing a bunch of potatoes and then waiting an extra 20 minutes for them to cook through in the chowder.
Make sure you let the whole pot come to a rolling boil when directed. You want the chowder to thicken up quickly so you can just stir it to make it creamy and meld the flavors.
Creamy Bacon and Seafood Chowder
- 1 lb. Fresh Alaskan cod fillet, cubed
- 12 Live littleneck clams (make sure they are closed to start)
- 8 oz. Crabmeat (special or jumbo lump)
- 1 Can of chopped clams with juice
- 4 Garlic cloves, minced
- 1 Shallot, minced
- 3 Green onions, sliced
- 8 Bacon slices, chopped
- 2/3 c. White onion, diced
- 2/3 c. Celery, diced
- 2/3 c. Carrots, diced
- 4 tbsp. Butter
- ¼ c. Sherry wine
- 1 ½ tsp. Old Bay seasoning
- ½ tsp. Dried thyme leaves
- ¼ c. Flour
- 4 c. Seafood or vegetable stock, warmed
- 2 c. Shredded hash brown potatoes
- 1 c. Half and half (substitute cream for thicker soup)
- Oyster crackers and Chopped parsley to garnish
1) Open the container of crab meat and canned clams. Cut the cod fillet into cubes and set aside until time to add to the pot. Make sure the live clams are closed and on ice until you’re ready to add them to the pot.
2) Prep the vegetables and bacon as directed in the ingredients list.
3) Add the bacon and butter to your cooking pot and place it over medium heat. Once butter has melted, let the bacon keep cooking for two or three more minutes.
4) Add the garlic, shallot, green onion, white onion, celery, and carrots into the pot and let continue to cook over medium heat. Stir as needed for seven or eight minutes, or until small brown spots start to develop on the bottom of the pot (which means the vegetables are sweating).
5) Once most of the moisture has cooked, pour in the sherry and cook for two more minutes.
6) Add the Old Bay seasoning, thyme, and flour. Stir everything together to ensure all the ingredients are coated with the seasonings and flour. Let this cook with the vegetables for 2-3 minutes.
7) When the ingredients begin to stick and brown on the bottom of the pot, add the warm stock and whisk to combine.
8) Turn the heat up to medium high, and let the ingredients come to a rolling boil. Once boiling, add the cod fillet cubes and potatoes. Let this cook for five minutes.
9) Add the crab meat, canned clams (and juice), and live clams along with the half and half or cream. Turn the heat back down to medium, and stir to combine so the chowder becomes rich and creamy.
10) When the live clams open, that’s your sign the chowder is done! Serve with oyster crackers and freshly chopped parsley as a garnish.
All told, this hearty seafood chowder is loaded with bacon, Alaskan cod, crab, clams, and a lot of love – and it’s ready in about 30 minutes! Talk about an easy dinner.
Check back in every week for more Direct Your Dining recipes to help reduce your energy use in the kitchen while getting creative with delicious dishes!
Recipe and Images by Stacie Morgan