Smoky Seafood Chowder

I know that Seafood week is starting to feel a little like Soup Week, but this is the last soup.  I had some oysters and fish leftover from what I bought for the gumbo and it can’t wait another day.  But I really wanted to make the Smoked Paprika Tilapia so I combined that with a recipe for Oyster Chowder and came up with this.  Super yummy and a terrific way to use up seafood odds and ends.  This chowder comes together easily and doesn’t really take very long.  Completely doable for a  weeknight dinner.

I had about one cup of shucked oysters and one catfish filet left from yesterday.  Add some corn that I bought at the summer farmers’ market and froze; some Homestead Creamery milk; a few potatoes, onions and celery and that’s pretty much it.  What makes this chowder special is the smoked paprika.  It adds a nice warm, smoky flavor without adding much in the way of heat.  You can crank up the heat with hot sauce if you like.  The corn I had was Silver Queen (sweet, white corn) so it adds a nice sweet element to balance the earthy potatoes and smoky paprika. 

So, what would I do differently next time?  I’d shorten the cooking time for the potatoes.  They’re fine, but just a little bit softer than I would have liked.  It was fine tonight, but in reheating I might end up with mushy potatoes.  Next time I might decrease the spice mix just a touch. It almost overshadows the seafood.   That’s pretty much it.  There’s not a lot of fat in this. Only 1 tablespoon of butter in the whole pot and no heavy cream.  I used 2% milk instead of whole.  That’s probably as low as I’d go.  When I put everything together it was good, but missing something.  I added a touch of  salt.  Good, but still not it.  Then I thought about how you almost always serve lemon slices with seafood so I juiced a lemon and added the juice.  Ta-da!  It just needed a little acidity and brightness.  Next time I might try lime juice.

This is a pretty dish.  I used red and purple baby potatoes.  Of course the paprika gives the whole dish a pretty red tinge and the green onions look really nice on the top.  Serve this with some bread and a salad and you’ll have a lovely dinner.  I actually think that the Sweet Potato-Pumpkin Bread from a few days ago might be really nice with it.  I’ll have to give that a try for lunch tomorrow!

Good? Very good.
Easy? I’m going to mark it Intermediate because you have to make and incorporate a slurry, but don’t let that scare you.
Good for company? Absolutely.
Special shopping? Just make sure you use smoked paprika. Regular sweet paprika won’t do.

Smoky Seafood Chowder

Makes 4 servings


1 C diced red and/or purple baby potatoes
1 catfish filet, cut into 1 inch pieces
2 T smoked paprika
1 t garlic powder
1 t salt
1/2 t black pepper
1 T butter
1/2 medium onion, diced
2 small celery stalks, diced
2 slices Canadian bacon, diced
3 C 2% or whole milk
1 C corn
2/3 C flour
8 ounces shucked oysters
1 lemon, juiced
2 green onions, sliced thin
hot sauce (optional)


Mix paprika, garlic salt, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Place potatoes in one bowl and fish in another. Pour half of the spice mix in with the potatoes and the other half with the fish. Stir to coat. Set aside.
Melt butter in a medium stock pot. Add onions, celery and Canadian bacon. Saute 5 minutes.
Add 2 1/2 C milk and potatoes.
Bring to a simmer. Cover and simmer 5 minutes.
Add corn and fish. Simmer covered 5 more minutes.
While the pot simmers whisk 2/3 C flour in with 1/2 C milk until completely absorbed.
Add oysters. Stir in flour/milk slurry stirring constantly until chowder reaches desired thickness.
Stir in lemon juice.
Top with green onions.
Serve with hot sauce.


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