Smoked Crab Corn Chowder

Smoky Crab Chowder recipe w/ PARMESAN bread

One of the great things about living in the Pacific Northwest, is our ability to readily access abundant, wild and delicious seafood. Anyone with a fishing license, a crab pot or a line and lure and some time on their hands can catch and treat themselves to some pretty amazing food. It’s a fantastic thing, and definitely something we take for granted around here. 

smoked chowder

Lately I’ve had an overwhelming urge for crab, but rather than splurge on a big crab dinner, I thought it would be a good idea to use just a little crab and combine it with this lovely corn chowder.  

Dungeness is the crab of choice in these parts, and we are lucky enough to have lump Dungeness crab meat fairly readily available year round. This recipe uses 1/2 lb. of meat, but if you feel like you need more, by all means add more. Use whatever kind of crab that is easiest for you to get your hands on, I’d just encourage you to find some lump crab meat and avoid what you get in cans. Cans are more affordable for sure, but if you’re going to splurge, buy just enough, a small amount of the good stuff or the best you can afford.  It’s definitely worth it.

table with crab soup

Not only is this soup a really quick meal, it’s also great on it’s own without crab or if you prefer you can even add chicken.  In fact prior to adding crab, we’ve only ever had this as a smoky chicken corn chowder.  You can certainly tailor the recipe to fit your likes and dislikes.  It’s a very versatile and forgiving recipe.

Soups like this are really perfect year round, lightened up with loads of summer vegetables or made more sturdy with the addition of potatoes (smoked potatoes would be awesome!) or garnished with roasted brussels sprouts, gah I need to stop myself.

And just so you don’t feel left hankering for some chewy over the top bread to go along with your soup, I’m sharing with you our family recipe for this creamy Parmesan bread.  It makes your eyelids flutter it’s so darn good.

PARMESAN bread

Smoky Crab and Corn Chowder recipe

Serves 4-5

2 T. unsalted butter

1 small onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, finely minced

1/2 C. white wine

1/2 C. water

2 T. chicken soup base (similar to Better than Bouillon)

1 tsp. ground cumin

1 1/2 C. fat free milk

1/2 C. heavy whipping cream

1, 16 oz. can cream of corn

1, 4oz. can chopped green chilies

4 oz. smoked cheddar or Gouda cheese

1/8 tsp. liquid smoke, (optional)

1/2 lb. fresh, cooked lump crab meat

green onions, cilantro, fresh (or frozen) corn kernels, extra cheese and red pepper flakes, for garnish

In a large soup pot, sauté the butter, onion and garlic over medium heat until tender, about 5 minutes. Pour the wine into the pan to deglaze, scraping up the browned bits.  Simmer 2 minutes, then add the water, soup base and the cumin. Simmer for 15 minutes.  Add the milk, cream, cream corn, chilies and cheese.  Stir to combine and simmer on low until the cheese melts and the soup is hot.  Spoon into bowls and top each bowl with the crab meat and other garnishes.  Serve with Creamy Parmesan Bread.

Creamy Parmesan Bread Recipe

1 loaf french bread

4 T. unsalted butter, room temp

1 C. mayonnaise (full fat)

1 C. grated Parmesan cheese

1/2 C. finely diced onion

1/2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce

paprika

Split the loaf in half lengthwise. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Butter each side of the bread, and set on a  baking sheet.  In a medium bowl, combine the mayonnaise, Parmesan, onion and Worcestershire.  Stir to combine.  Spread evenly on both sides of the bread.  Sprinkle paprika lightly over each half.  Bake for 12-15 minutes or until the bread is brown and bubbly.  Serve with soup or salad.

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