Clams, cream, potatoes and a little pepper are standard ingredients in most clam chowders. But chorizo sausage and Cajun shrimp seasoning? For the First State Chefs Association, the spicy ingredients are crowd pleasers.
The group received top honors at the Great Seafood Chowder Challenge, a friendly competition between two local chefs associations at Coast Day, a University of Delaware event held on Sunday, Oct. 7, at the Hugh R. Sharp Campus in Lewes, Del. After the taste-testing and voting was completed, “Chow Dur” made by the First State Chefs Association, was crowned the “People’s Choice.”
“I have a feeling it was the sausage that gave it a kick,” said Doris Hicks, seafood specialist with the Sea Grant Marine Advisory Service and organizer of all the seafood-related activities at Coast Day. “It seems like people like the New England style, when it’s nice and creamy and you can taste the clams and it has a little zip but not too much.”
Each organization held a mini-chowder challenge among its members to choose the special recipe that would represent them at the contest. Delmarva Chefs and Cooks Association made “New England Style Clam Chowder,” submitted by chef Ron Brobst of Coral Reef Restaurant, Ocean City, Md. Brobst added distinctive flavor to his dish with pork, onions, white pepper and Tabasco sauce.
Tambone — whose husband Larry Tambone, sales manager for Ambrogi Produce, is a member of First State Chefs Association — contributed “Chow Dur” for the winning association. Her recipe involved sautéing bacon, peppers, sausage and other ingredients before adding cream and roux. Both associations used clams donated by Seawatch International Inc., of Milford, Del., for the event.
Coast Day visitors sampled a 2-ounce portion of each association’s chowder and then voted for their favorite. The winner earned his or her name on a plaque and, as Scott Daniels, president of Tambone’s chapter said, bragging rights.
“We do (the event) because it’s a friendly competition and it’s also a great fundraiser for our program and it’s a good family day,” Daniels said, explaining that his organization sold nearly 900 crab cakes at the event. “Proceeds go to our hospitality scholarship programs at UD and Del Tech.”
Coast Day, which is sponsored by the UD’s College of Marine and Earth Studies (CMES) and the Delaware Sea Grant College Program, attracts about 10,000 visitors annually to celebrate Delaware’s coastal resources and experience marine research.
To learn more about CMES and the Delaware Sea Grant College Program, visit www.ocean.udel.edu.
COAST DAY 2007 GREAT SEAFOOD CHOWDER CHALLENGE RECIPES
First State Chefs Association
- 1 1/2 pounds of bacon, chopped
- 2 5" links of chorizo sausage
- Dry vermouth to deglaze
- 1 stick butter
- 1/2 cup green pepper, chopped
- 1 cup onion, chopped
- 1 1/2 cups celery, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 8 ounces clam juice
- 2 tablespoons Minors chicken base
- 1 teaspoon white pepper
- 3 ounce packet of Cajun shrimp seasoning
- 1 51 ounce can chopped clams
- 2 quarts heavy cream
- 1 1/2 quarts half and half
- 7 medium Yukon Gold potatoes, cubed (par boiled)
- 1 stick butter and 8 tablespoons flour for Roux
METHOD: (Preparation Time: 1 hour)
- Chop and sauté bacon, remove from pan and drain, discard grease
- Remove skin from chorizo sausage, crumble and brown in same pan, remove, drain and discard remaining grease.
- Deglaze pan with dry vermouth
- Add 1 stick of butter and sauté peppers, onions, celery and garlic until tender
- Add clam juice, chicken base, white pepper and seasoning packet
- Add bacon, sausage and clams
- Simmer on medium heat
- Add heavy cream and half and half
- Make roux (melt butter and add flour, stir until thoroughly mixed and cook for a few minutes)
- Add some of the hot liquid to the roux to thin
- Add roux to the soup until thick
- Add potatoes and cook until tender
YIELD: 7 Quarts
Delmarva Chefs and Cooks Association
New England Style Clam Chowder
- 4 ounces pork minced to a paste
- 4 ounces onions, minced (2 ounces red, 2 ounces yellow)
- 4 ounces celery, finely diced
- 3 quarts milk
- 8 ounces butter
- 8 ounces flour
- 3 cups clam stock
- 12 ounces chopped clam meats
- 1 tablespoon thyme
- 1 cup Chablis (reduced by 1/2)
- 12 ounces red potatoes (diced small and par boiled)
- 1 cups heavy cream (scalded)
- Salt and ground white pepper as needed
- 1/2 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- Zest of 1 lemon
- 1 teaspoon Old Bay
- 1 bay leaf
- In a medium frying pan bring to a simmer clams, minced pork, butter, celery and onions until almost tender.
- Add red potatoes and clam stock, simmer until tender.
- Add spices, Tabasco, Worcestershire, Old Bay, bay leaf, thyme and zest.
- Then add flour.
- Add milk, heavy cream and Chablis. Simmer 20 minutes.
- Add salt and pepper to taste.
YIELD: Approximately 1 1/2 gallon