So, my first question was: What defines a chowder? I was pretty sure it needed to be cream based, but then I realized there's Manhattan Clam Chowder that's tomato based. Then I found this, rather broad definition that made sense to me...
chow·der / ˈCHoudər/ noun - a rich soup typically containing fish, clams, or corn with potatoes and onions
I decided that was the definition I was going to follow. But, first, here's the Soup Swappers' Souppots...
So, here's my offering. "Contains fish, clams" = this version includes lobster and prawns. Check. "Potatoes and onions." Check. "A rich soup" = anything with beurre noisette qualifies. Check. Okay, I'm good.
Browned butter - also known as beurre noisette - is one of those magical ingredients that transforms the flavor of just about anything be it sweet or savory. Its nutty taste and aroma are out of this world. And it can add a creative twist to any recipe that includes butter.
- 8 T butter*
- 1 T olive oil
- 2 shallots, peeled and diced
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled and pressed
- 1/2 C diced organic celery
- 2 C organic potatoes, cubed
- 1 pound large shrimp or prawns, peeled and deveined
- 2 lobster tails, shelled and cut into large coins
- 3 C vegetable stock
- 1 C lobster juice
- 1 C organic heavy whipping cream
- toasted baguette slices for serving
- salt and pepper to taste
*To make beurre noisette: place butter in a pan over medium heat. Swirl the pan occasionally to be sure the butter is cooking evenly. As the butter melts, it will foam and begin to darken. The color will progress from a pale lemon yellow to golden straw hue and, finally, to a hazelnut brown. Once you achieve the color and aroma you want, pour the beurre noisette into a glass container. The milk solids will continue to brown - and eventually burn - if you leave it in the pan.
In a large souppot or Dutch oven, heat olive oil. Stir in shallots, garlic, and celery. Cook over low to medium heat until the shallots are softened and translucent.
Stir in the potatoes and pour in the vegetable stock. Bring to a boil and cook until the potatoes are easily pierced with a fork, approximately 10 minutes. In the meantime, cook your shellfish.
Poach the prawns and lobster coins in the browned butter. Set aside 1 to 2 pieces of lobster per bowl for garnishing.
Spoon the prawns and lobster into the pot. Scrape in the browned butter and pour in the lobster juice. Heat to warm through. Then, in batches, process until smooth. You can use a blender or a food processor. Return the soup to the pot and pour in whipping cream. Adjust seasoning to taste with salt and pepper.
Heat and ladle into individual bowls. Float a toasted baguette slice in the bowl and top with a lobster coin. Serve immediately.