new chowder for the new year

I am no stranger to making chowder. Clam chowder, quahog chowder, shrimp and corn chowder, fish chowder? I’ve made it.  I’ve rarely followed a recipe, preferring to combine recipes or just wing it.

And life was good.

But a few days ago I decided I’d better use some of the frozen shrimp I’d bought at Aldi’s in October. I found a new recipe online, made a quick trip to town to buy some heavy cream, bacon and a leek, and prepared to make something new. I figured Banjo Man would need a special meal after his first session of radiation.

The recipe came from Sam Hayward, “the chef of Fore Street in Portland, Maine”, but I had to make some changes as his called for buying whole shrimp and simmering the heads to make the broth. While I have done that in the past, it’s not something that I wanted to do again. Instead I flavored water with ground, dried shrimp I bought in a New Orleans spice shop.


A package of raw, frozen shrimp (size doesn’t matter because you’ll be cutting larger shrimp into chunks).
4 oz of bacon, cut into 1/4″ pieces
3 medium russet potatoes, diced
1 large leek, white part only, cut into 1/4″ pieces
3 TBS butter
3/4 cup heavy cream
salt and pepper to taste
1 pinch cayenne pepper
1 tsp dried chives (or fresh)
Fish or shrimp bouillon cubes

For the chowder broth:

Cook the bacon in a small pot of simmering water for 2 minutes. I’d never heard of this, but when I researched the reasons why I learned it makes bacon crispier and removes some of the fat. Who knew?
Drain. In your pan (I used my 6 quart dutch oven but I was making a double batch) over medium heat cook the bacon until it releases its fat. Then add the potatoes and leeks, stir well, reduce heat to low and cook covered for 5 minutes, and stir frequently.

Add 3 cups of broth flavored with bouillon or dried ground shrimp granules.  I used 3 tsp for 7 cups of water (I doubled the recipe but found I still needed a little extra broth).  I also used more potatoes than the recipe called for because I love lots of potatoes in chowder.

Simmer covered (or uncovered, your choice) until potatoes are cooked, about 10 minutes.  Remove from heat and cover to keep warm.

Melt butter in a large skillet over med-high heat.  Raise the heat to high, add the shrimp and the cream, stir well and bring to a boil.  Let boil for 30 seconds and stir carefully.

Add this to the chowder base and stir gently to combine.

The original recipe says to cover and let it rest for 10 minutes, but I put it on the lowest heat possible, seasoned with salt and pepper as needed, sprinkled a bit of cayenne and added some dried chives into the soup.  You could also sprinkle fresh chives on the individual bowls of chowder as you serve it instead of adding it to the soup.

While I was a bit dismayed at the amount of dirty pots and pans this created, Banjo Man and I were impressed by how good this chowder was.  I will definitely use this method to make broth from now on.  It would work with fish or baby clams, I suspect.  I’m going to try it both ways.

Banjo Man’s radiation was delayed a week.  We arrived at the cancer center to set things up.  During that process the technicians realized they needed another cat scan in order to accurately pinpoint three of the lymph nodes.

So next week he’ll have a practice run on Tuesday and start on Wednesday.

Which also means I need to come up with another special soup.  Suggestions, anyone?


This entry was posted in food, rhode island, the cancer fight. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to new chowder for the new year

  1. Marjorie Fridrich says:

    So sorry about the mixup.
    The chowder sounds great. I will save the recipe.
    I made fish soup for Christmas Eve. Chicken Noodle, too. Good thing as only 4 of 12 ate the fish soup. The most expensive thing I ever made. Found a fresh fish market I did not know existed. So I enjoyed several days of that. Had some left over baby clams which I turned into chowder but mine was a very short recipe. I will try your gourmet.
    Heads up and onward. 👍🙏❤️🌸💕

  2. Ruth says:


    For anyone interested in an Instant Pot soup recipe, I have a really good Cauliflower Cheddar Ale Soup recipe to share. It is delicious!!!


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