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Culinary SOS: Seafood chowder, warmly, from Nova Scotia

By Los Angeles Times

LOS ANGELES -- Dear SOS: I recently returned from a cruise to northeastern Canada and the U.S. While visiting Halifax, Nova Scotia, our tour took us to a charming Irish pub called Durty Nelly's for lunch. Several in our group ordered the seafood chowder. It was a delicious, creamy, flavorful and hearty bowl of chowder, but not fishy tasting. Can you please try to get the recipe? -- Cheryl Creek, Anaheim Hills, Calif.

Dear Cheryl: Durty Nelly's was happy to share its recipe for this chowder, which is rich, creamy and satisfying. The restaurant also included its cheddar and green onion biscuits recipe, which it recommends serving alongside a bowl of the chowder.

Durty Nelly's Seafood Chowder

Adapted from Durty Nelly's. Fish base can be found at seafood markets and many well-stocked grocery stores. Makes 10 1/2 cups. Prep time: 45 minutes.

     2     large boiling potatoes, diced

     1 1/2     cups diced onion

     1 1/2     cups diced carrot

     1 1/2     cups diced celery

     1/4  cup plus 2 tablespoon butter, divided

     1     quart water

     1 1/2     tablespoons fish base, preferably Minor's

     1    cup whipping cream

     1/4     teaspoon dried dill

     1/4     teaspoon dried thyme

     1/4  cup flour

     8     ounces boneless firm white fish fillet, such as haddock or cod, cut into bite-size pieces

     6     ounces shrimp

     6     ounces scallops

     Salt and pepper

BOIL the potatoes in a large pot of simmering water just until tender. Drain and set aside.

SAUTÉ in a large, heavy-bottomed saucepot, the diced onion, carrot and celery in 2 tablespoons butter until the vegetables are softened, stirring constantly to avoid coloring. Add the water and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and whisk in the fish base. Add the potatoes, cream, dill, thyme and pepper.

MELT 1/4 cup butter in a separate pan over medium heat. Add the flour, stirring constantly, and cook for 2 to 4 minutes to make a roux. Whisk the roux into the chowder and continue to cook until thickened over medium-high heat, about 2 to 4 minutes after the mixture has reached a boil.

ADD the haddock, shrimp and scallops to the chowder just before serving, and simmer until the seafood is fully cooked, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Nutrition information: For each of 8 servings: 341 calories, 14 grams protein, 26 grams carbohydrates; 3 grams fiber, 20 grams fat, 13 grams saturated fat, 111 milligrams cholesterol, 4 grams sugar, 518 milligrams sodium.

Durty Nelly's Cheddar Green Onion Biscuits

Makes 12 biscuits. Prep time: 45 minutes.

     3 1/2     cups flour, plus more for dusting

     1/4  cup sugar

     1     teaspoon baking powder

     1     teaspoon baking soda

     Salt

     1    cup softened margarine

     1/2  cup grated cheddar cheese

     1/4  cup chopped green onion, green parts only

     3/4  cup plus 2 tablespoons buttermilk

HEAT the oven to 375°.

SIFT together in a large bowl the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and a pinch of salt.

ADD the margarine and mix together by hand until mixture is slightly dry and crumbly, and the margarine is reduced to pea-size crumbs.

MIX in the cheddar cheese and green onions.

ADD the buttermilk and knead.

TURN the mixture out onto a floured cutting board or work surface and knead a few more times. Roll the dough to about an inch thick and form into a rectangle.

CUT into 12 equal squares. Place on lined baking sheet, slightly spaced apart.

BAKE until the top appears golden brown, cracked and firm, 10 to 12 minutes.

Nutrition information: Per biscuit: 306 calories, 6 grams protein, 32 grams carbohydrates, 1 gram fiber, 17 grams fat, 4 grams saturated fat, 6 milligrams cholesterol, 5 grams sugar, 384 milligrams sodium.


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