Even though Nicole and Kelly are both off at college and Alex is a junior in high school, it still seems odd when Steve and I find ourselves at home without any of the kids around. That's just what happened on Saturday night. Neither one of the girls had come home for the weekend and Alex was busy performing in his school play (which we'd already been to several times). So it was just the two of us. Earlier in the week I thought that maybe we'd go out somewhere for dinner, but in the end we both felt like staying home for the evening.
Since we decided to stay home, I thought it would be nice to make something special for dinner, have some wine and enjoy each other's company. The meal that came to mind for me was seafood chowder, it feels very special but it's really not that difficult to make. It also makes a large batch, so I knew there would be plenty of leftovers to freeze for later. To round out the meal I very simply dressed some mixed greens with really good quality balsamic vinegar and olive oil and I spread some crusty multi-grain bread with garlic herb butter and popped it under the broiler. Add to that Earth, Wind and Fire radio on Pandora and we had all the makings for a lovely date night!
Adapted From Pampered Chef's Celebrate
- 4-5 medium red potatoes, cut into 1 inch cubes (about 1 lb)
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2 large carrots, chopped
- 2 large ribs celery, sliced
- 1 medium red pepper, chopped
- 2 - 6 1/2 oz cans chopped clams, drained, reserving clam juice
- 1 tbsp butter
- 4 cups Chicken Stock
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 3/4 cup flour
- 2 cups half and half
- 1 lb bay scallops
- 1 lb cooked medium shrimp peeled and tails removed
- 2 tbsp parsley, finely chopped
Chop all of your veggies.
Drain clams, reserving clam juice. If clam juice does not measure 1 cup, add enough water to equal 1 cup.
Melt butter in a large dutch oven.
Add onions, carrots, celery and red pepper. Cook for about 3 minutes and the add potatoes and continue cooking until onions are translucent
Add clam juice, chicken stock, salt and pepper. Increase heat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 5 minutes or until potatoes are tender.
Meanwhile, place flour in a medium size bowl and gradually whisk half and half into flour. Whisk until smooth.
Add clams, scallops and shrimp to chowder. Gradually whisk in flour mixture. Return to a boil and cook two minutes or until thickened, stirring constantly. Add parsley and taste to see if chowder needs more salt or pepper. Cover until ready to serve.