06 November 2013

Chef Recipe: Louisiana Crawfish or Shrimp Chowder Great For Holidays

From Denny:  Looking for an elegant soup you can pull together quickly but tastes like you worked at it for hours?  This recipe utilizes a couple of canned soups - mushroom and potato - to help speed up the process.  Be sure to purchase the best version of these canned soups that you can find.  A low sodium version would be a good idea as seafood already contains a fair amount of natural sodium.

What also makes this a rich and delectable soup is the cream cheese, butter and half & half cream.  Oh, yeah, this is easily a calorie buster so it's best to serve by the cup as an appetizer.  But hey, if you are feeling lucky try it as a main dish.

I'm no fan of canned mushrooms, especially when you can find them already sliced fresh at the grocery store, packaged up and ready to go.  I prefer to slice whole mushrooms but if you are pressed for time the sliced fresh mushrooms are a great alternative.  If they are available in your area then choose the more flavorful Cremini (baby Portabellos) mushrooms over the white button mushrooms.

If you cannot purchase crawfish in your area then consider adding more shrimp or a local fish you enjoy.  This recipe would be great with a little bit of smoked salmon and plenty of fresh salmon, a little bit of smoked trout and plenty of fresh trout.  If you choose to use a fresh mild fish - and don't want to add a smoked fish - then consider adding some chopped and crisped up bacon to help flavor the soup.

The Creole seasoning used here is to your personal taste, generally about 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon for the entire recipe.  Do not double the Creole seasoning if you double the recipe as it can get too hot and overpowering for most people.

Another seasoning option is to include a mixture of rosemary, thyme and lavender - a traditional French seasoning used to your personal taste.  Start with 1/2 teaspoon, let the soup base cook a few minutes and then taste.  You may like a 1/4 teaspoon more or just keep the previous level.  Experiment with what you like and enjoy!

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Crawfish (or Shrimp) Chowder

Whether served as an appetizer or a main course, this chowder is a guaranteed crowd pleaser every time! Serve with oyster crackers or chunks of French bread.

Becky DiPietro, Boston, Massachusetts (formerly of Tickfaw, Louisiana)


Serves:  a Crowd

1 stick butter
1 large onion, chopped
2 large stalks celery, chopped
Green onions (1 or 2), chopped
1-pound pack frozen Louisiana crawfish (or shrimp), chopped
8 oz. cream cheese
1 quart half & half
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can cream of potato soup
1 can sliced mushrooms
1 can whole kernel corn
Salt and pepper, to taste
Tony Cachere’s Creole seasoning
Hot Sauce

(Double all ingredients - except butter - if serving a large crowd)


Sauté onions, celery and bell pepper in 1 stick of butter. Add crawfish and cook for 10 minutes at low heat.

Add cream cheese and stir until melted.

Add remaining ingredients and cook over low heat. Sprinkle in Tony Cachere’s and hot sauce if desired along with salt and pepper. Cook 30 - 45 min stirring frequently.

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