Snapper Chowder non-Recipe

I had some really tasty salmon chowder (well, my boyfriend did . . . and I stole some) at a place called Pomodoro’s last weekend, and I got the idea to use the red snapper in my fridge to make something similar.

I called this a non-recipe because I don’t really go by recipes, I just kind of add ingredients until they taste right. There’s no measurements, just the ingredients and suggestions of the order in which to cook things. I started with this:

  • butter
  • flour
  • condensed milk
  • shredded cheddar cheese (optional – if you like cheese taste; or, switch out cheeses like swiss for a mild cheese taste, etc)
  • red snapper, cut into cubes
  • chopped yukon gold potatoes
  • diced green onions
  • diced carrots
  • diced sweet peppers
  • minced garlic
  • dried mustard
  • minced dill
  • white pepper
  • garlic powder
  • paprika
  • salt
  • vegetable broth
  • lemon pepper seasoning (for the fish)
  • lemon (about half of one)
I started out poaching the red snapper, seasoning the water with some lemon pepper just to give it some extra flavor. Once it was done, I set it aside.
Using a large pot (that I sprayed with Pam!), melt about 1/3 – 1/4 stick of butter on low heat. Slowly add flour, constantly stirring (I use a fork, it keeps everything separated better) to make the base of the broth. You can really add however much you want depending on the desired thickness.
Next, add the vegetable broth and continue stirring, being careful not to let the flour clump. Raise the temperature of the broth, gradually bringing it to a boil. I began adding the spices during this time (dried mustard, salt, white pepper, paprika, garlic powder) to get a base started for the broth.
Add the condensed milk, stirring. The soup should be pretty thin at this point. Squeeze in the juice of half a lemon – and taste it to make sure it’s not overpowering (or underwhelming!)
Sprinkle in a bit of cheese (optional) in to give it some added thickness and a hint of cheese taste.
I added my potatoes at this point because they take the longest to cook. I prefer cooking them straight in the soup, but you could always cook them separately and add later. If you chop your carrots into chunkier pieces, add them now. I like small bits of carrots so I added them later.
Lower the temperature and continue to stir until the bubbles have gone away and it’s cooled down a bit. By this point, it should have thickened up a bit. If it hasn’t, you can add more cheese or more flour*, depending on your preference.
Once it’s stopped boiling, add the remaining vegetables (green onions, sweet peppers and carrots if they’re small) as well as the garlic. While it’s at this temperature, you can taste it to see what seasonings you need a bit more of. I like a lot of white pepper and a fair amount of paprika in mine.
Let it simmer for a bit before raising the temperature one last time. Add the dill (not too much since it’s such a strong flavor,) then bring it to a boil.
If you want any more cheese in your soup, add it while it’s boiling so it melts properly and mixes with the soup broth.
Lower the temperature and once it’s below a boil you can add the snapper. I let it sit for another 15-20 minutes at least to let the snapper soak up the flavor of the soup, and for all the flavors to come together.
I know it’s not an exact recipe, but if you like to experiment, this should be a great start. I just wanted to share it because it came out really delicious. Enjoy! 🙂
**Note: I’ve never actually seen a recipe that says to simply add more flour after you’ve begun cooking, but I’ve done it a thousand times and it always works. I don’t know if this is the “correct” way of doing it, but as long as you sprinkle it in a bit at a time and stir! stir! stir! it works.
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