Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Corn and Crab Chowder

My wonderful hubby recently planned a surprise birthday party for me at one of my favorite restaurants in Neptune Beach, Florida...Caribbee Key Tropical Bar and Grille. Truthfully, I'm a sucker for any restaurant with the word "Grille" or "Bistrol" in its name, and adding the "Tropical" to it just makes it all the better for me. Caribbee Key is truly awesome though, and they have the best conch fritters in Florida (my husband has done the honors of taste-testing conch fritters throughout Florida, including the Keys, and he says it's true, so I must believe him). I was so busy enjoying the company of all my wonderful friends that I barely had time to grab a bite to eat myself. The corn and crab chowder on the menu caught my eye, and I ordered a bowl and slurped it down within 2 minutes of its smell reaching my noodle. The recipe below is my attempt at recreating the soup, but with more reasonably-priced canned crabmeat instead of the lump crabmeat they served in the soup. Although it's not quite as good as Caribbee Key's soup, it still satisfied the craving for soup I had today to ease this spring head cold I've caught.

2 tbsp butter
1/3 cup chopped onion
3 scallions, finely diced
1/2 cup chopped celery
3 tbsp flour
4 bouillon cubes
3 cups water
15 oz. (1 can) corn, with water
1 tbsp Old Bay seasoning
1 tsp hot sauce
12 oz. (2 cans) crabmeat
1/3 cup half and half
2 tbsp cilantro

1. Add butter, onion, scallions, and celery to a medium-sized saucepan over medium heat and saute until tender, about 5 minutes.

2. Add flour and stir until the vegetables are coated. Cook approximately one minute, until it gets golden-colored. This creates a roux, a common way to thicken soups and stews. Cooking the flour with the butter supposedly (according to the able chefs on the Food Network) imparts a nutty-flavor to the soup and prevents the flour from making the soup tastes "dough-ey."

3. Add the water and the bouillon cubes and whisk until the flour and bouillon cubes are completely dissolved.

4. Add the corn, Old Bay, and hot sauce. Stirring occasionally, allow to come up to a simmer. The full thickening affect of the flour is created when the soup is brought up to a simmer...until then, it might not look very thick.

5. Remove from heat. Using a submersion blender, blend the soup until it's creamy. If you don't have a submersion blender, you can allow the soup to cool a bit and blend it in a regular blender. Immersion blenders are awesome for making soups, though...they prevent the mess that always comes with my trying to pour a liquid into my nearing-the-end-of-its-life blender.

6. Stir in the crabmeat, half and half, and cilantro. Garnish with sour cream and additional cilantro.

Makes approximately 5 servings.

Nutritional Analysis (from Calorie Count): Calories - 231; Total Fat - 8.1g; Saturated Fat - 4.5g; Cholesterol - 32mg; Sodium - 1193mg; Total Carbohydrates - 33.1g; Dietary Fiber - 3.3g; Sugars - 8.3g; Protein - 9.7g; Vitamin A - 11% RDV; Vitamin C - 16% RDV; Calcium - 5% RDV;
Iron - 6% RDV.


Kelly said...

yum...must give this to dh to cook. and have you had the conch fritters at chowder ted's on heckscher drive? he's won jacksonville's best chowder for quite a few years, and his conch fritters are right up there too! we can walk there from my house! :-)

Aubree said...

You know, I've never tried the conch fritters at Chowder Ted's. I've only been there for lunch, and a shrimp po boy is usually enough to make my tummy very happy. I'll have to take my dh up there for some conch fritters soon (just to make our survey of Florida conch fritters as comprehensive as possible, of course!).