It’s cold. When the chill starts inching its way down your spine, ski pants are a non-optional clothing and you spot kids skating on the local pond down the road it is time to start thinking about warming, tasty, hearty dinner options. This time of year as adults we are all trying to think about foods that go for the health and low-cal factor. A big, hearty chowder seems off the table. But, in The Maritimes, solid food that sticks to your ribs in these months of bitter, icy air is a matter of survival.
OK, maybe it was a matter of survival a generation or two ago. But, tradition is thick on Canada’s Atlantic coast and a pot of delicious seafood chowder can be found on just about anyone’s stovetop.
This recipe is awesome this time of year as well because it is seafood season. Scoring Canadian lobster, scallops, shrimp and other delights is fairly easy at your local grocer or fishmonger. It’s also super easy, taking only about 30 minutes to make from start to finish. With family in mind, we modified the more traditional recipe to exclude fish broth and include carrots since we have tested both ways on kids and a more mild fish flavor goes over best. We also went non-dairy with it all because a ton of dairy this time of year tends to mean phlegm, coughs and colds for kids.
If you want a truly traditional recipe, try this one. Here is our version of this tasty tradition:
Kid-Friendly Maritime Seafood Chowder
Canadian shellfish and white fish including Haddock, shrimp, scallops. Lobster and crab are awesome. But, we often opt for the fake stuff just to keep costs in check. Look for packages of fresh mixed seafood that is labeled for chowder. These are generally an awesome mix.
2tbsp All-purpose flour (we use spelt flour)
1 container of chicken broth
1 medium onion diced
3 carrots peeled and cubed
6 medium potatoes or 10-12 smaller red potatoes (easy to find Canadian this time of year) chopped
1 can of coconut milk
a pinch cayenne pepper
1/4 cup butter or margarine
In a heavy saucepan, sauté onions and in butter until tender add cayenne (be very gentle with this. It adds a nice warmth. But, more than a pinch makes the chowder spicy) and salt. Stir in flour and cook for 1 minute. Add potatoes, carrots and enough chicken broth to cover the veggies, bring to a boil. Cook until tender. Add fish, scallops, shrimp (we recommend keeping anything you bought and put in the freezer frozen until you put it in the chowder. It keeps the fishy smell down) and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring once or twice. Add the coconut milk and season to taste. Heat gently and serve.
This yummy seasonal Canadian favorite is the first recipe in a 6-week series on Canadian soups and how to use seasonal Canadian ingredients to make some serious goodness for your family that they will surely chow down on.
Let us know if there is a soup you’d like to see in the series by leaving a comment here and we’ll work hard to work it in.
Happy eating, Canada!