With another round of rain coming this week, we’re in the mood for cold weather comfort food! One of our favorite soups is crab and corn chowder. We decided to share it this week, since we realized it would be a perfect first course for holiday entertaining.
Chowder typically would not be first on our list of elegant appetizers, but when prepared with attention to detail and presented in formal bowls, it can be! The best thing about this soup is it’s easy, impressive, and a great way to practice your knife skills.
There are a few things that make this chowder more refined than most. First, the consistency is smooth and rich, without being thick. This is not chowder you can stand a spoon up straight in. Second, all of the ingredients are cut to a uniform size, none of which are larger than a kernel of corn. To get this look, you’ll just want to cut an onion into fine dice (see our directions here, and make the dice about 1/8″).
Peel the potato and cut it into very small dice as well (same size as the onion), and be sure to use fresh corn. We don’t keep very many kitchen gadgets around, but this corn peeler makes quick work out of getting the kernels off the corn. We highly recommend using it over a large bowl so that you can catch any of the liquid that comes out of the corn and add it to the soup.
We stopped into one of our favorite Italian wine shops, Biondivino, in search of the perfect pairing. We were surprised that Ceri recommended a light red wine from Liguria, Italy that turned out to be perfect. If you can get your hands on it, you must try Rocche del Gatto’s Rossese.
If you’re planning to serve this at a formal dinner, we highly recommend a footed soup bowl like this, this, or this. It would also be lovely served out of a classic tureen. Top with fresh cut chives just before serving, and try to use fresh Dungeness crab!
- Heat the butter in a stock pot over medium heat. Add the onions and a pinch of salt, and sautée until they begin to soften.
- Sprinkle with flour and stir until the flour is well incorporated. Cook for 1-2 minutes .
- Add the corn and potatoes. Begin adding the milk, little by little, and stirring well between each addition. Simmer over low heat until the soup thickens and the potatoes are fork tender.
- Add the cream, cayenne pepper, and season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Immediately before serving, add crab to warm through and serve.
- Garnish with chives.