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Cooler weather means it is time to start thinking about stews, soups and chowders

POSTED: September 14, 2011 1:30 a.m.
Brandee A. Thomas/The Times

Stews and chowders, like this Corn and Crab Chowder, are great for the cooler fall weather that is upon us. They are also easy to make, with a lot of recipes suited for the slow cooker.

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For many folks, summer technically ended on Labor Day, but the first day of fall is still more than a week away.

With the weather in that in between stage, planning a meal can be a bit tricky. There’s still lots of summer produce to enjoy, but the weather is starting to cool and makes many folks yearn for the comfort foods of the colder months.

Corn and Crab Chowder gives you the best of both worlds. Chowder is a staple in many kitchens during the winter months, but this recipe incorporates fresh summer corn and seafood. It also uses 2 percent milk instead of heavy cream or whole milk, so it’s a bit lighter than some chowder recipes.

Besides being loaded with flavor, one of the best things about this dish is that it comes together quickly. From beginning to end, it can be completed in less than 45 minutes, which makes it a great, weeknight option.

When cooking with containers of crab, be sure to pick through the meat to make sure there aren’t any wayward pieces of shell. If you’re tempted to cut corners by using imitation crab meat, don’t.

With this recipe, a little crab goes a long way flavor wise, so stick with the real thing. Once it is distributed into the pot of chowder, 8 ounces of crab meat will be more than enough to give everyone their fill.

It isn’t necessary to cook the crab before adding it to the pot because it will get cooked thoroughly in the chowder while the mixture simmers.

The star of this dish is the corn. Although you could use frozen or canned corn, the end result will be better if you go with the fresh variety. No matter how "fresh" the label says the contents inside are, it’s impossible to fully contain the fresh-from-the-cob flavor.

Although this dish would be delicious served up simply in your favorite soup bowl, you could earn bonus points for presentation if you dished it up in individual bread bowls.

To create the edible bowl, start with a small round loaf of bread. Cut the top off the loaf and scoop out the insides. You want to leave at least an inch of dough all around the sides and bottom of the loaf.

Just before serving, toast the loaf lightly in a warmed oven for about 5 minutes. This will help keep the bowl from getting soggy immediately.

Place the toasted bowl on a plate and ladle in your chowder. Serve immediately.


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