Seafood chowdeeer


The air is cold but the chowder is definitely warm.

The origins of chowder are a little cloudy, much like a swagger of other regional specialities such as bouillabaisse, paella, laksa, pho and so on. This is how I make mine. I certainly shall not be claiming to be the original or the best. Top three maybe, but not the best I don’t think. But it is chockers full of good stuff that is 100% guaranteed to warm the belly and soul of even the saltiest of old sea dogs.

I know this is one of the most obvious things a person could say when making a recipe for any type of rustic soup, but make sure you have heaps of crusty bread on hand to mop up when you’re done. That’s half the fun with this sort of thing.

We’re pretty used to the sunshine in the Northern Rivers of NSW, but sometimes the air gets cold and makes crunchy grass while we sleep.
You can cook inside or pretty easily on a fire or BBQ too.
Season, garnish and get it in your face with a pile of your favourite bread.

SEAFOOD CHOWDER

Serves 6

300 g (10 ½ oz) firm fresh fish of your choice, 2 cm (1 inch) dice
300 g (10 ½ oz) fresh prawn meat
4 rashers bacon, chopped
1 brown onion, cut into 1 cm dice
1 carrot, cut into 1 cm dice
1 stick celery, sliced
3 cobs fresh sweet corn, kernels cut from cob
1 large potato, cut into 1 cm dice
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 lt (1½ pints) thickened cream
500 ml (17 fl oz) full cream milk
Salt and pepper
Chopped parsley and BBQ / southern seasoning, to garnish
Crusty bread, to serve

In a large pot sauté the bacon, onions, carrot, celery, potato, corn, garlic and thyme.
Once it is softened and starting to colour add the milk and cream and simmer until potatoes are just cooked. This should take about 20 minutes.
Add the fresh fish and prawns and simmer for another 10 minutes. Stir it a couple of times but do it gently so you don’t break the fish up too much.
Remove from heat.
Check and adjust seasoning.
Serve garnished with parsley and a sprinkle of BBQ seasoning, and bread on the side.

Seafood chowder-esque type thing in a Vienna loaf

seafood chowder in a cob
My brother is just about to head back to his humble grotto in Margaret River, Western Australia, after a mammoth stay of two months. That’s right, now I shall be in charge of my own mis en place again… and we will have to do our own washing… I’ll be sad to see him go, that’s for sure.

But before he makes like a tree and gets out of here we needed a little man time. You know, get a couple of lads together and find ourselves a little riverside cabin where we can eat, drink, fish, wear the same clothes and not make our beds each day if we did’t want to. Power to the man eh? That’s right, the new man power revolution begins with us and it begins right here, today, now! Viva la revolution. Viva le revolution! Also please note, the revolution will end at approximately noon on Wednesday when we shall be returning home, so our office/support group will not be taking any calls from that point onwards…

So I did find us a nice little riverside cabin in the sleepy seaside town of Brunswick Heads (known as Bruns to the indigenous community). It had enough beds to ensure that only two of us need sleep together (I won’t explain that one), a small kitchenette that would enable us to prepare food and stay nourished for the length of our stay and a shower, which apparently was not needed and took up valuable space that could have been used to position a cracking barbecue/smoker set up.

We caught some fish, a couple of which spent less than an hour out of the water before they went into this Creole-esque type seafood number. Kind of even a bit of a chowder… maybe. I really don’t know what to call this bad boy except damn tasty. It was taken to damn-tasty-town by the addition of some of my patented Big Red Rub, which travels with me everywhere like a faithful side kick, adding flavour boosts to food like this and generally making me look a lot better than I actually am. Which is not actually a very hard job so maybe I am giving it a little too much credit…

We did scour the shelves of the one little bakery in Bruns for the cob loaf that this chowder-y number was going to fill, but alas it seemed that there had been a run on cob loaves that morning and we had well and truly missed out… so a crusty, white, $3.10 vienna loaf was going to do the job for us today.

We were right about here
We were right about here

Hollow that bad boy out
Hollow that bad boy out

Clean prawns in the little kitchen
Clean prawns in the little kitchen

Cooking in whatever the little kitchen has on offer
Cooking in whatever the little kitchen has on offer

Eat. Just eat
Eat. Just eat

This was really effing tasty. The Big Red Rub makes me look like a champ once again
This was really effing tasty. The Big Red Rub makes me look like a champ once again

SEAFOOD CHOWER-ESQUE TYPE THING IN A VIENNA LOAF (serves 4-6)

300g each bream and flathead, cut into large chunks (any fish you want to
eat will do the job here)
500g king prawns, peeled, deveined and cut in half
1 chorizo sausage, diced
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tablespoon Big Red Rub
1 medium sweet potato, medium dice, steamed/boiled until just cooked
Kernels from 1 cob of corn
600ml cream
Seasoning
1 crusty Vienna or cob
A handful of grated cheese of some description
Chopped parsley
Pickled chilli to serve

• Cut the top off the crusty loaf and hollow it out a little. Tear up insides and top. Get that puppy extra crusty in the oven at 180C for 10 minutes
• Sauté chorizo, onion and garlic in a little oil until starting to brown
• Add big red rub, prawns, sweet potato and corn and cook out for 1 minute
• Add cream and simmer for a few minutes until slightly reduced
• Add fish and stir to combine. Don’t play with it too much now because you don’t want to break this fish up
• Simmer for another few minutes until the fish is cooked
• Season
• Pour into the crusty loaf, top with cheese and parsley and serve with extra crusty bread and pickled chillis on the side. Best consumed with a lot of beer
• This would also be really effing good on some rice or even pasta

Sunset on the river. Pretty
Sunset on the river. Pretty