If you're a lobster & seafood lover, this chowder is a must-try. It's filled with lobster, jumbo lump crab meat, shrimp, corn kernels, all delivered in a silky, creamy texture that's loaded with seafood flavor. (When we made this batch we were out of carrots so you won't see any in the photo. We never missed them; however, they do add a pleasant sweetness when included). One spoonful and you'll be transported to the waterfronts of Maine or Cape Cod.
2 -3 Tablespoons butter
4 celery stalks, cut into 1/4″ slices
3 large carrots, sliced into 1/4″ slices
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1½ Tablespoons tomato paste
1 Tablespoon fresh thyme, finely chopped
salt & freshly ground pepper to taste (optional)
6 Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled & cut into 1/2” cubes.
March 19th has always been a special day of celebration for our family for that’s the day we celebrate the Feast of San Giuseppe (St. Joseph). This feast honors Joseph, husband of the Virgin Mary and earthly father to Jesus. Considered by Sicilians as the Patron Saint of their region, St. Joseph is said to have saved Sicily’s residents during one of their many devastating droughts. It is believed that the residents prayed to St. Joseph for rain. Their prayers were answered when the rain came. Their spring crops were spared from being destroyed, which prevented a widespread famine for Sicily. It is believed that this is the reason the celebration is held in March.
We celebrate every year because Joseph is the namesake of several of our family members, starting with our grandfather, father, son/nephew and 2 grandsons (Joseph as their middle name).
The menu for a St. Joseph celebration is rooted in the Sicilian tradition and because the holiday falls during Lent, meat is not eaten during the celebration, hence the sardine sauce. We can remember Grandma Tessie cooking spaghetti with a combination of sardines, onions, fennels, & raisins for the sauce topped with toasted breadcrumbs, known as the “poor man’s Parmigiano”, representing the sawdust left behind after a day’s work in his carpenter’s shop. She cooked this meal (which we grew to love) every March 19 until she was 97. At that last celebration, she asked who would carry on this tradition when she was gone. I told her not to worry, that I would. For the past 16 years, I have been making the Pasta con Sarde just as Grandma did, which is especially enjoyed by our Dad. The focus of the meal is on the Pasta con Sarde but we also enjoy the St. Joseph’s pastries. I always get them from Patsy’s & Son Italian Bakery in Lindenhurst, New York. They are the best I ever tasted and I’m a bit of a cannoli cream snob! If you find yourself on Long Island, do stop in to try their cannolis & cassata cake.
Heavenly is the only way to describe this fabulous, hearty corn & crab chowder. My good friend, Nancy Baker, cooked this today for our bridge club gathering. Everyone loved it and Nancy was kind enough to share her recipe with me for our blog. Thank you, Nancy! ❤
1 Tablespoon EVOO
2 Tablespoons butter
2 potatoes, peeled & diced (red potatoes hold their shape best for this)
2 cups shrimp/lobster seafood broth (homemade) or chicken broth (vegetable broth can be substituted)
1-quart whole milk (2% or unsweetened almond milk can be used in place of whole milk)
3 cups corn kernels, drained well or frozen can be used
8 oz. lump crab meat, uncooked
gluten-free crackers (oyster crackers if gluten-free not needed)
sliced scallions for garnish
hot pepper sauce (optional)
Chop vegetables and set aside.
Add EVOO & butter into a large deep pot over medium heat.
Add the vegetables & bay leaf.
Add salt, pepper & Old Bay® Seasoning.
Sauté vegetables 5 -7 minutes, then sprinkle in flour a little at a time. For a thicker chowder add more flour. Cook mixture for 2 minutes, stirring constantly.
Stir in cold broth until the mixture stops thickening.
Stir in milk a little at a time & combine. You may not use the whole quart and that’s ok.
Bring soup to a boil, add corn & crab meat. Lower heat to simmer for 5 minutes.
Remove bay leaf.
Taste. Add additional salt, pepper or Old Bay if needed. Let sit covered about 30 minutes or longer to meld all the flavors.
Ladle into soup bowls and top with gluten-free crackers, hot sauce & sliced scallions.
If serving buffet style, keep chowder warm in a crockpot on the warmest setting.
Notes: To make homemade shrimp or lobster broth use any cooked or raw shells from shrimp or the cooked shells from lobsters. These can be frozen until you have a bag full to make a wonderful seafood broth. Fill a pot with the shells and just enough water to cover them for about an hour. Bring to a boil & immediately lower to a low simmer, uncovered. When done, discard the shells and let the broth cool off. Pour into 1 cup food storage bags and freeze until needed. Never throw away your shells again!