Monday, February 20, 2012

Creole Crab & Corn Chowder – Let the Good Clichés Roll!

It’s so trite to say that something is only as good as the ingredients that go into it. Everyone knows that, right? It’s just common sense. Except, there I was, eating a very good bowl of crab and corn chowder that could have, should have, been very great; but it wasn’t because I didn’t remembered that old cliché.

As I mention numerous times in the video, this would ideally be made in the middle of summer, with ears of fresh, sweet-as-sugar corn. If that’s not seasonally possible (i.e., you’re doing a Mardi Gras themed recipe in winter), you can make a perfectly fine version using a premium-quality, extra-sweet, frozen corn. Or, you can do what I did.

I used an old bag of budget-brand corn I found in the freezer. The odd thing is, I’m not sure where it came from, or what it was purchased for. There are things like vodka and fair-trade coffee beans that somehow appear in my icebox as if placed there by invisible kitchen gremlins (btw, that would make a pretty cool name for a band), and I can only assume that’s how the corn got in there.

So, while I could have just walked two-blocks, and bought an expensive bag of something sweet and delicious, I instead went ahead and used a product that only a prison warden could love. The good news is that even with the almost-flavorless corn, this chowder was very good, so if you do as I say, and not as I clichéd, yours will certainly rock.

If you’re from New Orleans, I’d love to hear if they make anything similar to this. As I admit in the video, this is not my take on some iconic Creole recipe, but a simple soup inspired by those ingredients and style of cooking. Anyway, I hope you give it a try soon, and laissez le bon (corn) temps rouler!


Ingredients:
2 tablespoon melted butter
1/2 cup diced onion
1/2 cup diced bell pepper, or jalapeno, or combination of any sweet/hot peppers
1/2 cup diced celery
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon Old Bay
1 1/2 tbsp flour
3 1/2 cup water or stock, divided (2 1/2 for the pot, and 1 cup for the blender)
1 pound sweet corn kernels, divided
2 cloves peeled garlic
8 oz fresh crab meat, divided
1/4 cup cream
1 tsp sweet Spanish paprika, or to taste
green onion to garnish

39 comments:

Monica said...

Chowder is a north east term. Cajuns make crab soup, corn soup, Machuechou Soup(shrimp and corn soup). Then there is Gumbo. They use far more crab than you used and usually both meat and claws. I do not ever recall having thick soups thickened with flour. I will try and remember to see if it is on a menu when we go to the Beaux Bridges Crawfish Festival in May

Mike said...

Looks dee-lish, but one problem: I can't find Old Bay anywhere around these parts. Is there an acceptable substitute, short of hand-mixing the dozen-or-so spices that seem to go into it?

Anonymous said...

http://www.amazon.com/Old-Bay-Seasoning-24-Ounce/dp/B000M1HQFY/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1329783088&sr=8-2

youthculture said...

dear chef john,

i have been seriously craving corn chowder lately. is this recipe still a delight for mine stomach minus the crab (and likely with the addition of bacon) or is there anything you would suggest adjusting?

love,
me

Mary F said...

Chef John. Even though we have boycotted this website I need to tell you that I don't like crabs and I don't like clichés. Is there something else I can use? And I prefer my pizza cold and a potato is a tuber.

XTeenuh said...

I...love...chowder. Yes, the pauses are necessary. This is an awesome variation to corn chowder-which has been a favorite of mine for years. Thanks for sharing!

Anonymous said...

Mary F,
Why would anyone in their right mind boycott this website? You sound very grumpy. Eat up!

Anonymous said...

If you don't care for clichés then banalities make a suitable substitute.

It's nice to finally see someone else who's boycotting Foodwishes. I come here all the time and was beginning to think I was the only one.

Anonymous said...

Hi Chef John, can you tell me which supermarket or fish market in SF sells just the crab meat in bulk? I'm pretty new to the area! Thanks in advance.

Anonymous said...

Chef John,

Good looking recipe, really makes me crave some fresh (ohio!) sweet corn. I've been getting into the chowder game recently and will give this one a try soon.

And to you, "Mary F",

Not a big fan of your pretentious/embittered potato is a tuber boycott foodwishes nonsense, hopefully thats an inside joke that i'm not getting...

-Alex S.

Anonymous said...

Grr. I have to post anonymously because of Googles new and invasive nosiness policy. Disabling cookies from google.com makes it so I can't log in anymore :(.

In any event, I'm becoming a porker, and I blame Chef John Miskewiski(sp?)! John, I demand that you stop making videos containing tantalizingly beautiful food. Make something gross once in a while, like cauliflower, or tofu. My body girth will appreciate it.

Thanks in advance.

Gretchen said...

Yes Chef John, vous êtes le patron de la sainte trinité vous ("you are the boss of your holy trinity")! I am sitting right here at my computer in New Orleans, straining over my left shoulder, while on tippy-toes, almost able to see a little bit of parade color from the floats, as I muse over tuberous boycotts, banalities, getting the crabs,and the overall insipidipity of the (yes that's a word, I know, cuz I just made it up)...uhhhh, forgot what I was gonna say - still sober ya'll. Anyway, the chowder looks great from down here! Only diff is the use of Old Bay, which we don't use here a lot, and if we make something with a roux
(Rue NOT the roux!), we usually make it first then add the vegetables, speaking of which, haven't ever seen anyone use all jalapenos instead of bell pepper, but I'm liking the idea. Got boatloads of jalapenos growing in my backyard. We also seem to have sweet corn available here all the time lately, probably because the temp hasn't been below 60F for more than 10 days total the entire winter...give or take, since other natives may argue the exact point, or any point I'm making here, as we're all very pointy-ish here. It IS Mardi Gras, and I'm still sober at 10 am and that's unacceptable, so must make a Bloody Mary and imbibe pronto so this comment will appear to make some semblance of sense. Want me to send you some free beads and stuff??

Vinny from NY / NH said...

So I loved the bumble bee soup/chowder? (can't remember which) from years ago, and this looks like an even better idea! Unfotunately, this will be a post-Mardi Gras addition, but any time I can get a bit more cajun-esque food into my New England / Mid-Atlantic diet, the better I feel. I might try this with shrimp as well.

For those of you wondering about Mary F., check the soufle comments.

Gretchen in NOLA said...

Sorry, one more thing...in case you're interested in more food culture from N.O., check out http://www.nomenu.com/joomla1/

That's the blog/site of our local food critic, Tom Fitzmorris. Great guy, really smart, pretty good writer. Also has his own radio show. His site lists virtually every open restaurant in N'Awlins, as well as reviews, recipes, and daily (a)musings on his eating experiences here. Very entertaining. I recommend you subscribe;it's a great daily read.

Eric Pepple said...

Hey Chef John, Love your blog and your food ideas, especially your stove top sous vide demonstrations. Please feel free to check out my blog and let me know what you think, I just start about 3 months ago. Thanks!

http://happyvalleychow.blogspot.com/

Chef John said...

Anon, Check out Whole Foods, or Ferry Plaza (pricy), or go online and check out http://www.ilovebluesea.com/ they deliver and do will call.

ogre said...

Chef, I agree 100% about fresh corn making everything better, but during the summer months, are you able to find fresh crab?

Asian Malaysian said...

My question is similar to ogre's. Can you get away with canned crabmeat?

Chef John said...

You can, but it should be the nicer pasteurized lump crab meat in the pint containers that you see at the large grocery stores.

Anonymous said...

I love it when CJ asserts his culinary dominance :P

Greg, Chelsie and Haiden said...

This is the first of your recipes I have made and it was fabulous! My family raved about it! There is a similar soup at a chain restaurant called Crispers and I love it. This soup was very similar but was missing a flavor, I don't know what it is though. I'll have to do some experimenting and let you know what. Great recipe and so easy! My husband thinks I slaved all day in the kitchen, thanks!!

Chef John said...

thanks!

Kurt said...

This was delicious.........I added a splash of Brandy. I will make this again.

Brave Sir Robin said...

Oh wow. I just made this soup and it was freakin delicious. I even chopped the onions the way you did! Nice touch. Thanks for sharing =)

Anonymous said...

Chef, I could watch your videos hours on end. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

I loved this soup but I thought it was a tad spicy even though I only used 1/2 jalapeno and slightly less of the cayenne. I suggest using half the cayenne at the beginning and see if you want more as the soup comes together at the end. Also, it needed more Old Bay in my opinion (I love the flavor).

Anonymous said...

May I ask what type of brandy or sherry one would add and when?

Chef John said...

the brand doesn't really matter here, and just add a little splash before you add the liquids.

S/V Blondie-Dog said...

This Crabby Corn Chowder was positively delish served over some arroz blanco and was super easy to make as well. Even my lady-friend loved it. Thanks!

Lachlan said...

I don't really like the taste of sweet corn, would it be okay to substitute with another type of corn? Would you have any recommendations?

Anonymous said...

Any chance you could let me know how many this recipe serves? (and maybe be more consistent in doing so in your recipes?) I come on your site often when I'm having a dinner party & many times I go with another recipe because I know I can adjust it to fit the number of people I'm serving. I'd rather not have to figure it out myself. Thanks.

Chef John said...

I'd say it makes about 4 servings

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a good recipe. I will give a try tonight and let you know how it goes.

by the way, if you are boycotting then boycott already and get the f*&^ out of here. Ignorance is bliss huh?

Melissa said...

I made this soup last weekend and everyone loved it. It was great.

your bumblebee soup is up next for me.

Aaron Castillo said...

Hello
I was just wondering how many servings this turns out. Thanks!

Aaron Castillo said...

Hello.
I was just wondering roughly how many servings this recipe turns out. Thanks!

Chef John said...

2 large or 4 smaller portions.

Jerry Drzewiecki said...

Chef John,
Another keeper for my file. I think I'll use poblano chiles for a milder flavor. My family's idea of exotic food is oatmeal with skim milk. Also, would you please stop the Old Bay jokes? When I first heard Henny Youngman say "Take my wife.....PLEASE!!!", it was hilarious. The second time, it was funny. The third time, I knew he was out of gas. Thanks for your good work.

pandora8899 said...

Chef John. Since I've retired a year ago, I have been non stop cooking only things that you have on your site. Today I am making this lovely chowder. I have heard of Old Bay spice ( not to be mistaken for the middle aged stuff) but I have never seen it anywhere. Now, here on the island of Newfoundland, some things are a little harder to get, but none as hard as this holy grail of spice. Can I substitute something else, or a combination of things, or is it really that big of a deal. I love your videos, and you crack me up with every recipe. So far all have been successful. Thanks for being fab and fun, and a wealth of knowledge.