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Chowdah/Chowder--Cook-Off 20


Chris Amirault
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I like it crunchy, too. Oh, and I meant to further compliment you on the lovely plating in your photo.

This corn came from some friends who have a farm down the road from me in Uvilla, WV. I'm not sure but I think it is silver queen.

I note that your recipe contains no celery or carrots. I kinda like the anise flavor of celery, but worry it might overwhelm the delicate corn flavor.

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I think celery would be really nice too. I've been getting tasty Silver Queen from my neighbors who have been visiting Lancaster County PA and getting it fresh from the Amish farmers. It's been wonderful as well.

And thanks. I've been working on the photo skills. Thank goodness for digital.

Edited by monavano (log)
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The chowder came out pretty well. Thanks for the advice, Monavano. Nice corn flavor, not too thick or rich, not too sweet (I did not add sugar). I added only a tiny bit of celery for the desired anise effect, and a single carrot for extra sweetness. Good stuff.

Cornbread + corn chowder is not overkill, in case anybody wondered. :biggrin:

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I just made corn chowder the other day but had forgotten about this thread. Let's see if I can remember what all was in it: I simmered the corn cobs, a bay leaf, some of the corn kernels, and a little potato in water and a little milk until the potato was cooked; removed the cobs and bay leaf and pureed the rest; added more corn kernels and simmered just long enough to cook them through; and topped it with corncob-smoked bacon and a little Louisiana hot sauce.

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  • 2 months later...

Thanksgiving Eve Dinner at the Bird's Nest

the vegetative assembly - plus a few sprigs of thyme

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capturing the clam likker and adding fish stock and water to make 4 cups

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the clams chopped up

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saute onion. add diced carrot and clam/water broth. cook until carrots are almost tender. add thyme and diced potato as well as undrained tomato. cook until potato is tender. take off heat add clams. serve when the clams are warmed through - usually 5 minutes - with oyster crackers.

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Nothing is better than frying in lard.

Nothing.  Do not quote me on this.

 

Linda Ellerbee

Take Big Bites

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Suzi, what kind of clams are those?

chris - they are about 1/2 dozen cherrystone and about 1 dozen chowder/quahogs i got from our local seafood market. he always goes into new fulton on tuesdays and thursdays(or wednesday and friday after thanksgiving) so i put my order in. i like the mix. then open and drain - and sometimes the quahogs need a bit of cold persuasion.

Nothing is better than frying in lard.

Nothing.  Do not quote me on this.

 

Linda Ellerbee

Take Big Bites

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  • 1 month later...

It's that time of year again for my friend's annual chowder cookoff in Annapolis. (I had a brief thread on it a few years back: http://forums.egullet.org/index.php?showtopic=81076).

So far I have no idea on what I'm doing this time around, but I'm thinking even though it might not be what I'd order every time, that it should be dense with quality heavy cream.

Any ideas on techniques, tips, etc. to produce a winner?

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OK, no responses yet so I will think aloud here. We have nearby a place that offers almost-daily supplies of fresh sea scallops harvested in Ocean City, Md. They're wonderful and sweet -- you can eat them raw, and I gladly do.

Now, I've used them in the past, but only sparingly. What if I were to, for a large crockpot, use like 4-5 pounds of them, in a thick, thick, rich scallopy goodness chowder? Maybe a bit of potato and a bit of some kind of mild pepper and some herb, but otherwise sweet scallopy goodness?

No one seems to make a mussel chowder, but that might be interesting.

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Hello (lo-lo-lo-lo)?

So cold, so lonely. Shivvering away in this desolate forum, huddled near the digital vapors rising off photos of delcious chowders past.

If I go the scallop fudge route, I'm thinking of quartering them and just adding them to the crockpot maybe 10 minutes before tasting. The background will have to be interesting and with something to counter the sweetness.

I'm not sold on this idea yet, though, as I have over a month to prepare.

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I'm not sure what you're asking for exactly. I'd urge you to follow the tried-and-true methods of real contesters. What criteria have the judges used in the past? Figure them out and follow them. Trad? Stick with cream, butter, S&P, seafood. Wacky? Make a lemon rind confit, put a teaspoon of it at the bottom of each serving, and top it with smoked paprika and chiffonaded chervil.

Chris Amirault

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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Hello (lo-lo-lo-lo)?

So cold, so lonely. Shivvering away in this desolate forum, huddled near the digital vapors rising off photos of delcious chowders past.

If I go the scallop fudge route, I'm thinking of quartering them and just adding them to the crockpot maybe 10 minutes before tasting. The background will have to be interesting and with something to counter the sweetness.

I'm not sold on this idea yet, though, as I have over a month to prepare.

The idea of a scallop chowder doesn't call out to me. I don't know the parameters of your service situation other than you said you were serving about 25, but I think there is a big risk that the scallops would end up overdone by the time they were eaten.

Personally, I like the idea of a conch chowder (could even garnish with conch fritters). Your local reputable seafood purveyor should be able to get you frozen conch steaks. Just make sure that you pound them very well, and cut them into large-bite-sized pieces and cook them low and slow. Emeril has a good recipe for conch chowder on the Food Network website. Top with a splash of dry sherry on each serving.

I also think a corn-lobster chowder would be popular -- float a anice big hunk of claw meat on top. Who wouldn't love that?

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I've made lobster/andoille chowder before (with saffron) but the problem was it broke the bank. I like the idea of the conch, though. I know a guy who could get it on the cheap, too.

OK, even if the chowder is in low crockpot, and the scallops entered raw into the base, you think they would start to overcook? I could try a small batch first.

Chrisam -- I'm not looking for exactly. Just a chowder discussion.

When I'm eating chowder I like it thinner (even love the Rhode Island clear-broth style), but I think most winners at these contests tend to be quite rich. It's a people's vote, not an expert judging panel. I do like to stay away from flour thickener, though.

It would be labor intensive, and it's not the season where they gather around here on the marsh grass by endless thousands, but I wonder what periwinkle chowder would taste like. I think each tiny one needs a tiny hard piece plucked off its meat, which itself is picked from a shell by a toothpick ... Yarrr...

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I've made lobster/andoille chowder before (with saffron) but the problem was it broke the bank. I like the idea of the conch, though. I know a guy who could get it on the cheap, too.

OK, even if the chowder is in low crockpot, and the scallops entered raw into the base, you think they would start to overcook? I could try a small batch first.

If you are serious about winning, and have the time, I would do a side-by-side of the conch and (proposed) scallop chowder. I'm still having a hard time imagining the scallop chowder. In addition to my fear about overcooking the scallops, I'm wondering whether the scallop flavor would shine in a chowder.

All the better if you can find the conch at a good price. I live in FL, and even here the good stuff is $20/lb. Worth every penny, though, if prepared properly. Too many people ruin conch by using high heat cooking methods. I find it needs a low and slow cooking method (or seviche). I think a conch chowder accompanied by conch fritters would be a winner.

How were you planning to garnish the scallop chowder?

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  • 1 month later...

I won my friend's annual chowder cookoff Saturday, beating 15 other entries to reclaim the title I last won in 2005 with a corn/crawfish entry.

The past two years I'd suffered from a lack of focus, a lot of last-minute adding of too many flavors that produced a confused chowder. This time I focused on a few great ingredients and let them shine. Here's what I did to make my winning Oyster and Leek chowder with Vermouth (served with homemade bacon oyster crackers). The subtitle on my sheet was "Boardman's* Levitra: It might not make your naughty parts tingle, but it's guaranteed to stick with you for 72 hours."

First, I cooked four slices of good thick-cut bacon from Amish market, diced, reserving some of the fat to sautee two leeks and three or four stalks of celery. Also to the bacon fat I added some amazing organic Amish unsalted butter, which formed a delicious layer on top.

I deglazed this with about cup of really good vermouth, Boissiere "bone white." Then I added homemade chicken stock, diced russets and a touch of white pepper and two good spoonfuls of hot sauce.

Next went in a quart of oysters and their liquor -- whizzed in the food processor (the second quart was added whole 15 minutes before tasting began). This was clutch because there were both oysters in the background adding thickness and depth to every bite, but also tons of whole ones. To correct the salt, I used this excellent Alderwood smoked salt I got off worldspice.com.

For the creaminess, I used a pint of organic Pennsylvania cream (also from Amish market) that was so thick it was more like creme fraiche. Insane stuff. At the last second, a handful of herbs went in: tarragon and some parsley growing out of the bricks at Dad's house.

That was basically it! What I haven't mentioned though is that for the first year in this event's six-year run, I wasn't there to taste any of it! I had to cover a high school ice hockey playoff in Laurel, Md. for my newspaper, so I dropped my chowder off with a friend whose job it was to represent it, add the whole oysters and herbs, stir the crockpot every now and then and make absolute certain nobody used my secret weapon -- the bacon oyster crackers -- for another competitor's chowder.

I've got a huge red beard right now and Mom took a closeup of me with gaping maw, making a menacing face, printed it on legal paper and laminated it. We made it into a mask -- complete with partially cutout nose so it fit over a face -- and he put it on to accept the trophy. By the time I got to the bar in Annapolis for the afterpartying, strangers already recognized me. It was hilarious.

It's a really great annual event at Severn Sailing Association now, and my buddy Sean does it all himself. I keep trying to talk him into charging people at the door, but he'll hear none of it.

If any photos materialize, I'll post them here.

*Note: Boardmen are the usually husky guys who keep Chesapeake Bay Log Canoes (www.logcanoes.com) from tipping over on summer weekends. It's a glorious sport involving the mass and strategic consumption of beer.

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Here's what I did to make my winning Oyster and Leek chowder with Vermouth (served with homemade bacon oyster crackers).

Bacon oyster crackers?! My inner Homer is drooling at the thought. Is the recipe a secret or can you post it in eGullet? :rolleyes:

Congratulations on your win!

 

“Peter: Oh my god, Brian, there's a message in my Alphabits. It says, 'Oooooo.'

Brian: Peter, those are Cheerios.”

– From Fox TV’s “Family Guy”

 

Tim Oliver

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Bacon oyster crackers?! My inner Homer is drooling at the thought. Is the recipe a secret or can you post it in eGullet? :rolleyes:

Congratulations on your win!

The idea struck me pretty last-minute, so I did a Google search and turned up This Recipe. I added lots of good cooked bacon, whizzed in the food processor, to the dough as I was stirring in the water and shortening (I used unsalted butter), and more or less followed as directed. Except for I made them much smaller than her photos appear, and I cut them with a knife into squares because I couldn't find a tiny round, hollow cylinder to use as a punch. Also at the advice of one of my mom's coworkers who bakes a lot I added twice as much baking soda (and no herbs).

They're great. But next time I might chop the bacon a little courser. And I would like to learn how to make airier crackers. Still, the garnish was well-received.

Edited by chappie (log)
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So, I know this thread tends to fall down rapidly, but I'm already thinking about next year's chowder. Maybe it'll be an actual aquarium of seafood to which a flame gets added, plus cream, potatoes, onions butter in stages. The Cycle of Life Chowder.

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chappie~

it all sounds good. Question....why do you think there  is yeast in the oyster cracker recipe?

I don't know... baking is what I do the least. And it didn't call for proofing the yeast, either, just mixing it in with the flour and leaveners, adding the liquid, kneading, letting rest for 10 minutes, rolling and cutting.

I'm open to suggestions for better oyster crackers. These were a hit, but perhaps only because they tasted really good and were homemade. I think if I could get them more shatteringly crisp (these had the texture to me of really crunchy cheese straws?) and oyster-crackery, I'd make them forever.

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Here's what I did to make my winning Oyster and Leek chowder with Vermouth (served with homemade bacon oyster crackers).

Hey, that sounds pretty good. Congratulations chappie!

Periwinkles aren't so bad. The ones I did were a bit gritty but there are ways to defeat that. I'm willing to try a periwinkle chowder at some point.

"I took the habit of asking Pierre to bring me whatever looks good today and he would bring out the most wonderful things," - bleudauvergne

foodblogs: Dining Downeast I - Dining Downeast II

Portland Food Map.com

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I want to know more about periwinkles and their prep. In the spring/summer there are thousands upon thousands of them in my dad's tiny sliver of Tred Avon River waterfront marsh alone. Someone told me there's a tiny hard piece you have to get rid of? How do you deal with grit? Can you raise them with cornmeal?

Anyway, if I ever get the harvesting down, is there a way I could do them here and there in batches and freeze them in a manner that wouldn't make them freezerburnt or stale when I thawed them in February for the chowder cookoff? If I could do this, it might be one of the biggest coups ever.

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There is a little "door" called a operculum that seals the animal inside the shell at low tide. After a flash boil of 5 or 6 minutes, they just fell off in my collander while rinsing the picked meats.

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The bay near my house has tons of them,

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They don't go away in winter - why not just wade out there in February and harvest them fresh? Freezing sucks!

"I took the habit of asking Pierre to bring me whatever looks good today and he would bring out the most wonderful things," - bleudauvergne

foodblogs: Dining Downeast I - Dining Downeast II

Portland Food Map.com

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