This chowder is lighter and healthier than most traditional creamy chowders yet is every bit as comforting and satisfying. Instead of heavy cream, its base is made of milk and broth — chicken, vegetable or fish — which is thickened with a little butter and flour, flavored with aromatics and spicy seasoning blend, and freshened with herbs and a touch of lemon juice. A handful of shrimp (frozen and pre-peeled) elevates this chowder to the next level in minutes.
Crabmeat, clams, or chunks of fish would also be great, as would shredded roast chicken or turkey. Or go all veggie. Use this as a recipe as a template to adapt with whatever protein you wish for a one-pot meal that will warm you up without weighing you down. From Susan Puckett, an Atlanta-based food writer and cookbook author.
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 cup chopped onion
- ½ cup chopped celery
- 1 large red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and diced
- 2 large garlic cloves, minced
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 cups whole milk
- 3 cups low-sodium chicken broth (or vegetable or fish broth)
- 1 pound baby potatoes or new potatoes, cut in bite-size pieces
- 2 cups fresh or frozen corn kernels
- 2 teaspoons Creole or Old Bay seasoning blend, plus more to taste
- Kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
- 8 ounces peeled uncooked shrimp, halved if large
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice (or more, to taste)
- Chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley for garnish
- In a large stockpot, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onion, celery, bell pepper, and garlic and sauté until vegetables are tender, 5 to 7 minutes.
- Sprinkle the flour over the vegetables; cook and stir another minute or two.
- Gradually whisk in the milk until well blended, then stir in the broth, potatoes, corn, 1 ½ teaspoons seasoning blend, ½ teaspoon salt, and fresh thyme.
- Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce to medium-low and let simmer for 20 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender.
- Sprinkle the shrimp with ½ teaspoon of the seasoning blend, stir to coat, then add to the pot and cook 3 minutes longer or just until the shrimp are pink.
- Stir in 1 teaspoon of the lemon juice; taste for seasoning and add more salt, seasoning blend, and/or lemon juice to suit your taste.
- Ladle in bowls and garnish each serving with chopped parsley.