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Caribbean Chowder

From Chef Oonagh Williams of Royal Temptations Catering

Ingredients:

  • 1 large onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp olive oil or butter
  • 2-4 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely crushed
  • 1 lb. tomatoes, peeled (or 1 large can of tomatoes)
  • 2-3 roasted whole red peppers, peeled, deseeded and roughly chopped (opt for large peppers over small; if using jarred peppers, select the equivalent of 2-3 whole peppers)
  • 8 oz. can tomato sauce
  • 1 cup water
  • ¼ tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp smoked sweet paprika
  • Grating of fresh nutmeg, salt and pepper to taste
  • 14 oz (15 or 16 oz is fine) can of unsweetened coconut milk (Do not use the kind designed for Pina Coladas – it is too sweet. Don’t use lite coconut milk – you will be disappointed with the results.)
  • 1 tsp coconut rum (optional - for gluten free I use original rum, not flavored)
  • 8 oz boneless skinless mahi mahi (or salmon, or lobster) fillets cut into small cubes
  • 3 large scallops (about 1/3 lb), cut into 8 pieces each - cut scallops into two circles, then quarter each circle
  • 4-8 oz lump crabmeat (If using imitation, make sure it’s gluten-free)
  • About 12 (½ lb) peeled raw shrimp, well rinsed and drained

Directions:

1. Gently heat oil in a large pan or pot. Add onions and garlic, cook covered over gentle heat until onions soften - at least 5 minutes.

2. Add tomatoes, tomato sauce, water and roasted red peppers and continue to cook covered over gentle heat for about 10 more minutes. The onions must be really soft or they won’t purée to a smooth sauce.

3. Add thyme, nutmeg, salt and pepper, and paprika. Purée mixture in the pan with an immersion blender. You can also pour the mixture into a blender or food processor, then transfer back to the pot once pureed.

4. Add coconut milk and rum and gently heat until liquid is bubbling gently at the edges.

5. Add mahi mahi, scallops and shrimp. Return soup to a very gentle simmer and cook for about 3 minutes.

6. Turn off heat, add crab and stir well. Allow soup to sit for about 5 minutes until all fish is cooked through but not tough. Taste, adjust seasoning, and serve. 

Tips & Alternatives:

This recipe is versatile, so swap in your favorite fish or seafood to meet your tastes.

The pureed onion creates a creamy base for this soup. It’s a trick you can apply to other soups and chowders

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