Bacon and Crab Chowder
Bacon and Crab Chowder
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  • A drizzle of extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
  • 6 slices bacon, chopped
  • 2 Russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 4 celery ribs from the heart with leaves, finely chopped
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 fresh or dried bay leaf
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 6 cups whole milk
  • 12 ounces lump crabmeat, from the seafood counter
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 tablespoon seafood seasoning, such as Old Bay brand (a palmful)
  • 3 tablespoons dry sherry
  • 4 tablespoons snipped chives
  • Oyster crackers
  • Hot sauce

Put a medium pot over medium high heat, then add a drizzle of EVOO and the bacon and cook until the bacon is crisp, about 5 minutes. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon and drain on a paper towel-lined plate.

Pour off a little of the bacon fat, leaving a thin, even layer. Add the potatoes, onion, celery, bell pepper and bay leaf to the pot, season with salt and pepper and cook for 7-8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until softened. Stir in the flour and cook for 2 minutes. Add the chicken broth and, using a wooden spoon, scrape up all the brown bits from the bottom of the pot. Add the milk, cover the pot and bring to a simmer.

Run your fingers through the crabmeat to check for shell bits, then combine it with the thyme and seafood seasoning. Uncover the pot, stir in the crabmeat and simmer for 6-7 minutes, until the potatoes are just fork-tender and the soup has thickened. Finish the chowder with the sherry and serve with the crispy bacon, chives, oyster crackers and hot sauce.

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