I live in Half Moon Bay and it RULES. Crab season is almost over on the coast but more often than not, I find myself with a BUNCH left over after a big party or crab feed at home. With the rain coming down all over the Bay yesterday, it was the perfect day to whip up a huge pot of chowdah!
One of the things I love doing is going through my refrigerator to see what I can throw into a pot an make delicious. I grabbed this recipe from the internet and modified it to fit my needs and it came out amazing!
Found in the 'fridge: 1 leftover crab, a fennel bulb(why did I even buy this?) WAAAAY too much rosemary (isn't it always sold that way?) and a half dozen red potatoes...I'm feeling a chowder coming on. Plus it rained like CRAZY at my house yesterday. Having a chowder on the stove was almost poetic. OMG...I just found the bacon, ENJOY!
Coastside Crab Chowder with Bacon, Rosemary and Fennel
4oz chopped bacon (3-4 slices)
1 tsp chopped rosemary
1 tsp red pepper flakes (or more if you like it spicy)
4 finely chopped celery ribs
1 finely chopped onion
1 finely chopped fennel bulb
2 quarts fish stock (chicken stock will work...but fish stock is pimp)
1/2 stick unsalted butter (you can use a full stick...but you don't really need it IMHO)
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 lb cubed red potatoes
1 1/2 cups heavy cream (I always sub in low-fat milk to save some calories...your call)
meat of a 1-2 lb crab (or about 1/4-1/2 lb lump crab meat)
1 can of corn or 2 cups fresh corn(cooked)
freshly ground pepper
1. In a soup pot, cook the bacon(start the pan cold, add the bacon, switch to medium) until brown(approx. 5 minutes). Remove and set aside on a paper towel to drain. Add rosemary and chili pepper flakes and cook for 1 minute. Add celery, onion and fennel and cook on med-low stirring occasionally until soft (about 10 mins). Add fish stock and simmer.
2. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan. Add the flour a little at a time and cook over medium heat while stirring constantly to make a roux. Once the roux is the color of peanut butter(it will smell amazing but be piping HOT so don't taste...you will burn your tongue...don't ask me how I know). Add the roux to the soup and bring to a boil. Add the potatoes and simmer until tender(about 10 minutes). The roux and the potatoes will thicken the soup nicely. Stir in the cream and corn, season as needed with salt and pepper and bring back to a simmer.
3. Add HALF the crab and bacon to the soup and simmer for another 5 minutes or so. Scoop it into bowls and top with a bit of the crab you saved (you did save some, right?) and your favorite hot sauce as needed!