Clam and oyster chowder. I was afraid to make this. But I did it anyway because I'm trying to get more seafood in our diet. Oysters are the best source of zinc you can find, far and above anything else! (See this article for more info on nutritional benefits of oysters.)
My first attempt at cooking with oysters (oyster casserole - basically baked mac & cheese with oysters) was a flop. Steven tolerated it, I simply picked out the oysters and fed them to Caedmon who ate them quite willingly. I had opened two cans of oysters for that recipe but after looking at them in all their gray-ness...I could only bear to put one can into the casserole.
So for a few days I've had the contents of a can of oysters staring back at me from a glass jar in the fridge. (Should've chosen something opaque to store them in.)
But on Sunday night I boldly wrote "Clam Chowder" on my meal plan, with plans to "sneak" the oysters in there, too. And...it worked! I think it was actually delicious. Something about the fishy flavor permeating the whole dish made it ok. That and lots of bacon. Bacon - always nitrate-free - is sort of a special occasion food around here on our limited budget. But in this case it was definitely worth it.
Clam and Oyster Chowder
1/2 lb nitrate-free bacon
One large yellow onion
2 large stalks celery
1/4 c. flour (sprouted would be preferred; I used all-purpose)
5 small carrots
2 lbs potatoes, peeled and diced
4 cups chicken stock
1 can oysters
1 can clams
2 cups cream or whole milk (preferably raw, grass-fed)
freshly ground pepper
for serving: whole grain sourdough bread with grass-fed butter
Fry the bacon until crisp in a dutch oven. Place on paper towels. Keep the grease in the pot. Meanwhile, chop the onion, celery, carrots, and potatoes. Cook the onions and celery in bacon grease until soft. Add the flour and stir to incorporate. Add the carrots, potatoes, and stock. Season with salt, pepper, tarragon, and nutmeg to taste. Bring to a boil, lower heat, and simmer, covered, until vegetables are tender. Meanwhile, drain and roughly chop the oysters. Drain the clams, pouring the liquid into the pot, and roughly chop the clams. When veggies are tender, add the clams, oysters, cream/milk, bacon, and chopped parsley to the pot. Simmer a few minutes to let the flavors meld. If it is not thick enough, stir a tablespoon or so of flour with a splash of water in a cup, and add to the pot. Simmer until it is the desired consistency. Taste and adjust seasonings. Serve with warm/toasted sourdough and plenty of butter. :)
P.S. If you are not into baking sourdough bread and you live near a Trader Joe's, they sell 100% whole wheat sourdough for a very reasonable price!
This post is part of Real Food Wednesday at Kelly the Kitchen Kop.