That's Chef Ben St. Clair on the left and a beaming Allison Kneubuhl (Marketing) and proud General Manager Keith Hill on the right displaying the Judges award for BEST chowder at the recent 2013 Gualala Whale and Jazz festival Chowder Challenge. There was stiff competition out there folks but this chowder recipe is a show stopper. Congratulations to Chef Ben! Oh and take a quick look at Chef Ben, General Manager Keith Hill and Sales and Event Manager Shawn Prescott in action serving up the Chowder and running out of cups!
Corn and Shellfish Chowder
2 pounds little neck or cherrystone clams, well rinsed (You may substitute 2 cups canned chopped clams and 4 cups clam juice)
1 pound mussels, de-bearded and well rinsed, discarding any opened (dead) ones
2 cups white wine
1 dozen shrimp, peeled, deveined and chopped (save the shells!)
8-10 cobs of fresh sweet corn
Fresh cold water
2 TBL cold water1/2 cup finely diced bacon
2 onions diced, about 3 cups
1 ½ cups diced celery
1 large pinch saffron
1 TBL curry powder
1 TBL jam house spice
1 TBL minced garlic
1 gallon heavy cream
2 cups peeled and diced potatoes
8 oz. bay scallops, foot (the hard piece on the sides) removed
2 tsp. finely chopped fresh thyme
Salt and pepper to taste
A few drops of hot sauce
1 scallion finely chopped
Preheat a grill or broiler.
Shuck the corn removing as much or the corn silk as possible. Place the ears or a grill or on a broiler and lightly brown each side of the cobs. When done browning, set aside to cool. When cool enough to handle cut off the kernels saving the cobs. These should yield about 6 cups of corn kernels.
Place the sheared cobs and the shrimp shells in a heavy bottom stock pot with just enough cold water to cover, place on a medium high heat and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes. Strain the liquid into a container and discard the cobs.
In a heavy bottom pot cook the clams and mussels with the wine with a medium high heat with a tight fitting lid until the clams open, approximately 4-6 minutes. Transfer clams and all the liquid to a large bowl. When cool enough to handle remove the clams and mussels from the shells discarding the shells but reserving the liquid. Strain the liquid through a fine mesh strainer and reserve.
In a heavy bottomed soup pot sauté the bacon in the oil over medium heat until lightly browned. Strain out the cooked bacon leaving the fat behind in the soup pot. Add the onions and celery and cook until tender, stirring often with a wooden spoon. Add the saffron, Jam house spice mix and garlic and cook for another couple of minutes. Add the ½ corn, ½ the potatoes, cream and clam cooking liquid and simmer for 15 minutes.
While the soup simmers boil the other half of the potatoes in the strained shrimp-corn stock just until done then strain the liquid into the soup then strain through a sieve.
To serve heat 8 oz. of the soup basin a pan with a few pieces of the shrimp, scallops, clams and mussels with a ¼ cup of corn and 1 TBL of cooked bacon. Add a pinch of chopped thyme and bring to a boil. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Garnish with some finely chopped scallions and a drizzle of hot sauce.