Tuesday Test Kitchen - New England Clam Chowder

Posted by David Bowley on

Tuesday Test Kitchen.
It probably should read Tuesday I make a mess.  

When it comes to cooking, cleaning up said mess is where my skills are best recognised.
Never the less, I create for a living. Wine.
It's serious business. Food however...
I like to have a bit of fun creating food [it means we can drink more wine], so on a Tuesday & to further justify that mess, here is where I'll be sharing those experiments. 

Chowder, [Chowda] or [Shaw-dare] is basically a single pot stew, most often made with Seafood or Vegetables & in my mind, it is the King of comforting, hearty soups. The day you make it all quotes from Ace Ventura - Pet Detective are golden.

There are a few types of Chowder but two of the best known are:
New England, made with potato and cream base, and;
Manhattan, which contains no milk or cream and is traditionally tomato based. 

Not content with following a completely traditional methodology in the kitchen, this recipe is broadly based on the New England variety, spiced up with some Asian influence for that extra warmth for Winter. 

Ingredients: (Serves 4 adults)
1kg mussles
250g trevally fillet. Cut into bit sized chunks 
1 tbsp coconut oil
1 large sweet potato. Cut into small chunks
3 medium carrots. Cut into small chunks
1 onion. Chopped finely
250-300g corn kernels
4 cloves garlic. Chopped finely
4 tbsp red curry paste 
250ml coconut milk

Start with steaming the mussles. 
Put 2 cups of boiling water into a pot on high heat along with the Mussels. After about 5 minutes [once the mussels have opened, surrendering their juicy meat] remove from the heat and strain the liquid into a jug.
Allow the mussels to cool for a minute or two before shelling & chopping into small pieces. Usually quarters works best, but it is entirely up to your preference and intuition based on the size of the mussels.

Remember to de-beard the mussels. I like to imagine each mussel as a smug, to-cool-for school barista who is judging my friend for ordering a soy-mocha-latte. 

Next you take the cloudy, salty mussel broth, put that back into the pot & add the sweet potato, carrot and corn. Bring this to a simmer for at least 30 minutes.

This is where I relax for a few minutes & open a nice bottle of wine to match. The curry paste is bringing some spice so for this dish I'm leaning towards a light winter red; PN/13 Pinot Noir. It's important never to rush in the kitchen, especially here as timing is everything + WINE. 

After the mussel broth with sweet potato, carrot & corn has been simmering for around 20 minutes, take a pan and using the coconut oil, sauté the onion & garlic together. Once translucent, add the red curry paste.
Cook this for a further 3 or 4 minutes to extract the aromats, stirring very regularly to integrate the sautéed onion & garlic. Then add 250ml of coconut milk, stir through to integrate & set a high heat to bring to the boil. 

Next add the contents of your pan to the mussel broth with sweet potato, carrot & corn. Once combined, mash everything gently to break down those pieces of carrot and sweet potato. 

Finally, add the bite sized chunks of Trevally fillet to the pot, submerged in the liquid.
Simmer for 7 minutes [until the fish is just cooked] & serve. 

Garnish with coriander & a squeeze of lime, then stand back & let the Ace Ventura quotes roll...


Adelaide Hills Pinot Noir chowder Dinner food soup wine winter

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