It's raining and that makes me think of Chowder - well, that and the fact that today is "C" day in the A to Z Blogging Challenge. When it's cool and icky outside, I love a warming chowder.
We don't draw the line at clam chowder. A chowder is thick and creamy and filled with chunks of good stuff like protein, veggies and sometimes potatoes. OK, in our kitchen, our chowders always have potatoes. I will admit to cheating when I do make clam chowder. I buy the canned things because I've never actually cooked a real clam. Remember - I live in central Ohio. Truly "fresh" seafood is a luxury item. Oh, except for that guy in Jelloway that goes to Maine every couple of weeks to catch live lobsters and brings them back here to sell very cheap!
If I'm making a chowder involving seafood or fish such as mussels, clams, cod or any firm white-flesh fish, I start sauteing the veggies. And no - I'm doing this off the top of my head so I don't have any pretty pictures. Celery, carrots and onion - and the diced potatoes. We tried this with some kind of stew late last fall and I was amazed at the new depth of flavor that was added by lightly sauteing the potatoes before adding the liquid.
Chowder liquid. I've not had any success making fish stock because all my fishing expeditions end in hamburgers. Homemade vegetable stock is a good option and plain ol' water works well. I always take care to just cover the veggies because I know I'm going to be adding cream or half and half.
The protein in a chowder doesn't have to be from the sea. I love to make chowders featuring ground Italian sausage and I've eaten some heavenly corn chowders. I add the clams or other fish just as the liquid has come to a simmer - don't want to cook them until they're too tough!
My cousin Freddie makes the most beautiful fish chowder I've ever had. Filled with whatever catch his son brought in off the boat that morning and a light, barely-creamy broth. I haven't eaten it since the fall of 2001 because he lives in New Brunswick but I can still taste it.
No recipes, no pix, no links...just warm and fuzzy thoughts.