It is cold here in north Texas, a perfect time to put together an easy and filling chowder. The key to this recipe is to layer in each level of flavor and avoid the urge to stir it all up as you go. The other thing about this recipe is that you can adjust the amounts of each ingredient and change the number of servings from just a few to a crowd of hungry campers. The only limit to the number of servings is the size of your Dutch oven!
- 2 large onions, diced into large chunks
- 2-3 tablespoons Canola oil;
- 3 cups chopped celery
- 3 bay leaves
- 4 large potatoes, diced into one-inch cubes
- 5 cups chicken stock
- 2 frozen cod filets, cut into large chunks
- 1 1/2 cups frozen scallops
- 1 1/2 cups frozen shrimp pieces
- 3 cups heavy cream
- Salt and pepper to taste
Fire up a chimney of charcoal then place a big pile underneath a 12″ camp Dutch oven. Add oil and onions. Sweat the onions until they start to turn translucent, about five minutes. Layer chopped celery on top of the onions, add the lid to the Dutch oven, and cover with hot charcoal. After about five minutes, layer the potatoes and bay leaves on top of the celery, then pour chicken stock in until it covers the potatoes. Replace lid and add more charcoal if needed to both top and bottom. Bring to a boil. Check potatoes after about 15 minutes. If they are fork tender, add the cod, scallops and shrimp. If not, wait until the potatoes are done. Replace the lid and add charcoal if needed to bring the chicken stock back to a boil. Let it simmer until the shrimp, scallops and cod are cooked, just a few minutes. Taste and add salt and pepper to taste. Add heavy cream and bring back to a slow simmer but not to a boil. Remove the Dutch oven from the heat when the chowder is heated through out.
Getting the broth to come to a boil take a lot of hot charcoal and takes a little time, especially if it is cold outside. You probably will need to fire up another chimney (or two) of charcoal throughout the cooking process. It took me about an hour do make this 12″ pot of chowder and several chimneys of charcoal.
This chowder isn’t very thick. If you like your chowder thicker, increase the number of potatoes to 6, reserve half of the potatoes and set aside. When they are tender, take a big fork and smash up the potatoes, then add the remaining potatoes and bring back to a boil and cook the remaining potatoes until they are fork tender.
The variations to this chowder are endless. You can make it with just cod or a fish that holds up well in stews. You can leave out the celery and chicken stock and use water instead. To make it fancy, add lobster or crab. The key is to add everything in layers and let the flavors simmer together as each layer is added. No need to stir this pot!