Divided BY Chowder

Celebrating Chef George's 25th Anniversary on PBS

If there is one thing I have learned as a chef there as many versions of chowder recipes as there are people who enjoy this soup, err..I mean stew..no I think soup?  

George Hirsch Chowder

Each of my cookbooks and TV series has a version of some sort of a chowder recipe. I have judged chowder contests, participated in chef chowder tastings, and been a referee at a few chowder-boxing matches. Well, not really, but people do get heated up over red or white chowder. 

What really is chowder? The word "chowder" comes from the French word chaudiere, or caldron, the vessel in which the dish was cooked. And, derives from the word "jowter," meaning fishmonger, a term that was used in 16th century coastal regions of England.

George Hirsch Seafood

Is it a soup or stew? Early versions of chowder simmered from the New England area and was basically a frugal recipe of pork fat, onions, potatoes, fish, herbs, dry biscuits or flour for thickening, layered in a pot and cooked in water, with a little milk added at the end. In the 1800’s the Manhattan clam chowder was notable because it contains tomatoes. James Beard described Manhattan clam chowder "that rather horrendous soup called Manhattan clam chowder resembles a vegetable soup that accidentally had some clams dumped into it." All respect Mr. Beard, but those are fighting words. As a New Yorker and from coastal Long Island, an East Ender we take our chowder VERY serious. See, how a discussion on chowder can turn into a sparring match.

Tomato-based clam chowders came about with the newfound popularity of the tomato in the mid-1800s with the large population of Italians and Portuguese in New York and Rhode Island region. Still, there is no chowder harmony. In 1939, Maine legislators introduced a bill outlawing the use of tomatoes in chowder because it is far more of a vegetable soup. What? 

I can end this entire soup divide right now. Aside from any vegetables, corn, chicken or other non-seafarer ingredient for the stew--here are three versions you can enjoy from my TV series and cookbooks. They have satisfied many and with hope can prevent a nation from future chowder conflict. 

Manhattan vs. New England Chowder N.E. not my fav..

Seafood Chowder Yes, now this is a stew!

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White Bean Casserole as seen on George Hirsch Lifestyle

Join me CreateTV George Hirsch Lifestyle Sat March 9th 6AM/6PM + Sun March 10 12PM

This easy to prepare hearty soup makes for a wonderful mid-week dinner or rustic weekend starter. I have even prepared gallons of this warming soup for tailgates. For a creamier soup, puree half.   

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White Bean Casserole

Makes 6 servings

chefgeorgehirsch.comGeorge Hirsch Lifestyle 

2 Tablespoons olive oil  

1/2 cup chopped onion

1/2 cup chopped carrot

4 cloves garlic, chopped

2 teaspoons fresh basil, chopped

1/8 teaspoon hot pepper flakes 

1 cup potatoes, peeled and chopped 

3 cups chicken broth 

1 can white beans, drained and rinsed 

3 links Italian or smoked sausage, pre-grilled and sliced  

2 cups Kale, washed, dried and chopped 

Fresh ground black pepper to taste 

Pre heat a large soup or sauce pot to a medium heat. Add olive oil. Add the onion, carrot, garlic, hot pepper flakes and cook, stirring, for 2-3 minutes until the vegetables are tender, do not brown. Add the potato, sausage, broth, beans and basil. Bring to a boil then lower to a simmer, cover and cook about 30 minutes. 

Bring soup back to a boil, turn down to a simmer and add the kale. Cook until the kale is wilted, about 5 minutes. Add pepper to taste. 

For a creamier soup, pulse half of the soup or puree in a food processor. Bring soup back up to a boil until well blended. 

Optional Substitution for Kale: Spinach, Escarole, Swiss Chard, Broccoli Rabe

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Hushpuppies or Cornballs?

Depending on where you are in the world I believe there is some variation of hush puppies or cornballs cooked in every culture, either savory or sweet - such as the falafel, sorullitos and festivals. Typically you may think of hush puppies as a BBQ or seafood side dish; originating in the southern region of the USA - tasty comfort food. Yes, I included my own version of it in my Know Your Fire Cookbook. Cook some up!

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Chef George’s Hushpuppies

Where the name HushPuppies came from:

The name "hushpuppies" is often attributed to southern cooks who would fry some basic cornmeal mixture (possibly that they had been bread-coating or battering their own food with) and feed it to their dogs to "hush the puppies" during cook-outs or fish-fries.

Hush Puppies | Recipe by George Hirsch, Know Your Fire Cookbook, Putnam 

chefgeorgehirsch.com | George Hirsch Lifestyle

1 cup cornmeal

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 cup milk

1 egg, lightly beaten

2 Tablespoons melted butter

1 Tablespoon fine chopped parsley

Vegetable oil for frying

* optional suggestions: onions, hot pepper, crisp cooked bacon, finely chopped ham or crab meat

Combine cornmeal, baking powder, salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Add the milk, add egg and beat with a whisk or fork until the batter is smooth and no lumps remain. Stir in the butter, parsley and set the batter aside for 15 to 20 minutes. 

Fill a deep saucepan or deep-fat fryer with 2 to 3 inches of vegetable oil and heat to 360 degree F. Scoop up a scant tablespoon of batter off the spoon into the hot fat and when the hush puppies rise to the top in about 1 minute, turn them over and cook until evenly brown, about 2 minutes total. Remove and drain on paper towels. Hush Puppies should always be served piping hot.

13 EPISODES on 4 HD-DVD Disk Set
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Universal Symbol Of Life

Join me + Tune-in George Hirsch Lifestyle CreateTV Sat Dec 29th 6AM/6PM + Sun Dec 30th 12:30PM

The egg itself, like a seed, is a symbol of the potential of life. Back in ancient times the egg was a symbol of the universe, of creation, and in some cultures, luck wealth, and health. 

Wishing you all a healthy and prosperous New Year!

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What's equally as good with high tea, sparking wine, or frosty beer at a tailgate? I have an egg of an idea - the deviled egg. It's one of those hors d'oeuvre platters that spans the occasion ladder from high brow to low brow; which always empties fast, because it is so difficult to have just one. The name deviled implies hot, but need not be. It is simply hard boiled eggs chilled and halved with the yolk whipped into a flavorful filling of a wide variety of flavors such as; mayonaise, sour cream, yogurt, Dijon mustard, etc. You can even spice it up with a touch of cayenne, hot sauce or wasabi. Use a touch of fresh herbs like dill, cilantro or chives, it's a nice touch. Make special occasion up-end garnishes such as chopped proscuitto, crisp chopped pancetta or with a sliver of smoked salmon, sour cream and caviar.

Great way to start off the New Year!

13 EPISODES on 4 HD-DVD Disk Set
19.95
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