Corn chowder might be tasty on its own, but why not change things up a bit by adding something new – like crawfish!
Okay, so maybe crawfish isn’t new for your kitchen, but it was to mine. It wasn’t even what I originally planned for. This was supposed to be a shrimp and corn chowder, but I’ll explain why that didn’t happen.
While shopping at Trader Joe’s, I came across their frozen seafood section, which had the salmon I needed to pick up along with some beautiful lobster meat. Though for $11.99 I wasn’t convinced I needed to spend that much, even though I loved the white and red look of the prepared lobster chunks. Shrimp was $12 and I knew I could get it at Kroger for cheaper, so I passed.
I was wrong. Kroger wasn’t running any sales on frozen OR fresh shrimp. It was just as much as Trader Joe’s and it didn’t look as good. This meant I was walking back and forth from the frozen to fresh section trying to find an alternative. That’s when I stumbled upon the crawfish.
While I do purchase meat on Manager’s Special occasionally, I don’t live by what’s in that bin. However, how could I go wrong with a pound of crawfish tail meat for $1.99? It was frozen and nowhere near expiring, so why not give it a shot? Crawfish had the color I was looking for (shrimp wouldn’t pop as much in a white, creamy soup as lobster tail meat or crawfish would) and I was pretty sure I would enjoy eating it. Pretty sure. Not completely sure.
So we ate it. I placed a few crawfish pieces in a small skillet and warmed them up. It tasted like… seafood. The texture and flavor are about the same as shrimp but the pieces are smaller. Though the crawfish needed to be cleaned, which meant rinsed off and then picked through carefully to remove any veins or fatty pieces. For $1.99 you have to put in a little more effort but it’s worth it.
Queen of Free, my ultimate bargain, and budget resource says “Actually ask your manager when they post specials. There’s typically a set schedule that they use and you can know which days things will go on sale so you can keep your eyes peeled and/or plan your shopping accordingly.”
This is exactly what I need to do because about 75% of the time I go grocery shopping I’m disappointed at either the lack of meat available or the high prices.
The base of the soup comes from my Creamy Chicken Pot Pie Soup, though I was out of heavy cream (shame on me) so I used Rahul’s half and a half. I’ve received great feedback on it and it’s becoming a staple base for any creamy soup I make.
Not sure if you’ll like crawfish, either? Make the recipe as is and then only add in a little crawfish to see if you like it. If you do, add later. It only needs to be warmed through since I purchased fully-cooked crawfish tail meat.
Creole seasoning gives this soup a kick in the butt – use it sparingly if you are sensitive to spicy foods, or use more if you like it hot.
Crawfish Corn Chowder
Makes 2 Quarts
- 4 tbsp butter
- 1/4 cup flour + 2/3 cup flour
- 1 small yellow onion, diced
- 3 celery stalks, diced
- 2 medium carrots, diced
- 3 garlic cloves, diced
- 2 cups diced potatoes
- 5 cups chicken broth
- 1 cup half and half
- 1/2 tsp creole seasoning
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 1/4 tsp dried fennel
- 2 cups crawfish tail meat
- In a large dutch oven or stock pot, melt butter over medium high heat. Whisk in the flour and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly.
- Add the onion, celery, and carrots and cook for 2 minutes, stirring to keep the flour from browning. Add the garlic and cook 1 minute more.
- Add the diced potatoes, chicken broth, half and half and all of the seasonings and stir. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Meanwhile, rinse the crawfish tail meat and pick through carefully, removing any veins or fatty, unappetizing pieces.
- After the soup has cooked for 20 minutes, thicken it by taking 3/4 cup of soup and pouring it into a medium bowl.
- Whisk in the 2/3 cup flour as best as you can – it may seem like you’re making mashed potatoes but that’s okay. Pour that mixture into the soup and whisk thoroughly.
- Stir in the crawfish and let cook for five minutes to warm the crawfish and to let the soup thicken.
- Serve and top with a little parsley for color. Leftovers can be stored in the fridge but the soup might seem thicker the next day. It will loosen up when you heat it up.