Another cold and cloudy day, another warm and cozy recipe. Today’s comfort food of choice — Scallop Chowder. Heartier than their often less filling cousins, soups; chowders are marked by a thicker consistency and usually contain fish or shellfish along with vegetables. Plump bay scallops, diced potatoes and corn star in this tasty and slightly spicy take on chowder. Next time I think I’ll add a handful of chopped chives for color and taste.
4 slices bacon, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 medium potatoes, peeled and diced
3 14-ounce cans chicken stock
2 cups half and half
1 bay leaf
2 pounds bay scallops
2 cups frozen corn kernels
1/4 cup sherry
Cook bacon in large pot over medium heat, stirring occasionally until crisp. Use a slotted spoon to remove bacon from pan and transfer to paper towels to drain.
Add onion and garlic to bacon fat and cook until they begin to soften, about 1 minute. Stir in red pepper flakes and potatoes and cook until red pepper is fragrant, about 3 minutes. Add chicken stock, half and half and bay leaf. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until potatoes are cooked through, about 12-15 minutes. (It’s important that you not allow the chowder to come to a boil once you’ve added the half and half. The high heat may cause the half and half to separate or curdle.) Stir in scallops and corn and cook for about 5 minutes.
Remove the bay leaf and carefully ladle about half of the chowder into a blender and process until smooth. Return puree to pan and stir in sherry and nutmeg. Season to taste. Ladle into bowls and sprinkle with bacon.
Makes about 8 servings.