Here in the south, we do love creamy chowders. I took a turn on this one and made a Manhattan-style chowder base full of tomatoes, summer vegetables and herbs you can keep on hand in your freezer to have fresh fish or seafood chowder ready in minutes. Freeze in quarts and add oysters (as we did), shrimp, crab, clams, scallops, fish or combination at serving time. We topped ours with crispy fried oysters.
2-14oz.cans roasted diced tomatoes(in season, use equivalent fresh maters)
2-8oz.bottles clam juice
1cupeach loosely packed chopped fresh thyme and oregano
3large stems fresh rosemary
several bay leaves
3tablespoonsseafood seasoningI used Old Bay
salt and pepper to taste at the end
In a heavy pot or Dutch oven, cook bacon, sweet potatoes and onions over medium heat for about 3 minutes to render some drippings. Add remaining fresh vegetables and sauté until al dente, about 5 minutes.
Stir in remaining ingredients except butter and bring to a simmer. Cook 5-7 minutes until vegetables are tender. Season with salt and pepper as needed. Remove rosemary stems and bay leaves. Cool, package and enjoy or freeze. Stir in 2 tablespoons butter per quart to finish when serving.
At chowder time: Heat base to a low simmer. Add fish pieces or seafood and cook just until done, making sure not to overcook. Most will be done in 3-5 minutes. Or, “garnish” warm chowder with cooked seafood. Add about 1 pound of seafood per quart or as desired.
Use fresh herbs when making this chowder for optimum flavors!