Corn and Crab Chowder

Remember last week when I shared that crab and artichoke dip with you guys? Well, after making the recipe, I had about 4 oz of leftover crab meat and stuck it in the fridge, thinking it would be fine for a few days until I figured out what to do with it. Crab isn’t something we buy a lot, so I didn’t exactly have a ton of recipe ideas jumping to mind immediately (except the obvious crab cakes, which I wasn’t in the mood for).

I was on the phone with a friend the next day and mentioned my dilemma when she threw out the idea for a soup or chowder. I hadn’t even considered the possibility (which seems kinda crazy given that we were in the middle of a stretch of single degree temperatures, and as much as I hate to be that person complaining about the weather, I am SO over winter!) but it was the perfect solution!

Corn and Crab Chowder

After doing a little research, I came upon a recipe for corn and crab chowder from Cooking Light that looked promising. I adapted the recipe quite a bit to make it work with the ingredients I had on hand, and I also took the liberty of adding bacon to the equation. It just seemed like the right thing to do :)

This chowder calls for frozen corn, which means you aren’t limited to the few months of the summer that fresh corn is in season, though I’m sure it’d be fantastic in here. From start to finish, the recipe comes together in less than 30 minutes so it’s a perfect low maintenance weeknight dinner idea. Oh, and did I mention it’s crazy delicious? The combination of the bacon, crab, corn, and potatoes was pure comfort food in my book – super flavorful and really filling too. Even though I’d eaten the chowder for lunch several days in a row, I was honestly a little bummed when it was gone!

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Corn and Crab Chowder
heavily adapted from Cooking Light, August 2010

2 slices bacon, cut into 1/2 to 1-inch pieces
2 jalapenos, seeds and ribs removed, minced
1 medium onion, diced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 (16 oz) package frozen corn kernels, thawed
1 cup half-and-half, divided
1 (8 oz) red-skinned potato, washed and cut into 1/2 to 1-inch pieces
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup reduced-fat milk (I used 1%)
8 oz lump crab meat

Set a large saucepan or Dutch oven over medium heat and add the bacon. Cook until crisp, stirring occasionally, then transfer to a paper towel-lined plate. Drain all but 1 tablespoon of the bacon fat from the pot.

Add the jalapeno, onion, salt, pepper, and sugar to the reserved bacon fat in the pan. Cook for about 4 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables have softened. Stir in the corn kernels and continue to cook for 2 more minutes. Transfer 3/4 cup of the corn mixture from the pan to your blender and add 3/4 cup of the half-and-half as well. Blend until smooth then set aside. Add the potatoes to the pan and cook for 1 minute then mix in the chicken broth. Bring the mixture to a boil and cook for 4-5 minutes, or until the potatoes are nearly fork tender.

Whisk the remaining 1/4 cup half-and-half and the flour together together in a small bowl until well combined. Add to the pan and cook, stirring constantly, for about 1 minute, or until the chowder thickens slightly. Return the pureed corn mixture to the pan along with the milk and crab meat. Cook until heated through, about 3 minutes. Serve bowls of the chowder garnished with the reserved bacon.

{Note: I thought the leftovers reheated incredibly well. I just added a little more chicken broth and set the pot over low heat until it was warmed through.}