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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George's Gameday Posole

A traditional Mexican dish from the pacific coast region of Jalisco; Posole is a thick soup made with hominy–dried corn with the hull and germ removed. Makes any large gathering a fiesta!

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George's Gameday Posole

Makes 8 servings

chefgeorgehirsch.com | George Hirsch Lifestyle

2 pounds pork shoulder chops

1/2 cup Posole Pork Rub

3 Tablespoons olive oil

1 sweet onion, sliced thick, grilled and chopped

4 jalapenos, roasted on grill; split seeded and chopped

6 cloves garlic, chopped

4 cups hot chicken broth

4 cups canned hominy, drained and rinsed

1 Tablespoon coarsely chopped fresh cilentro

3 fresh red radishes, sliced thin

1 cup fresh cabbage, finely shredded

Rub pork on all sides with Posole Pork Rub, and refrigerate for at least two 2 hours or overnight.

Pre heat large soup pot  to high heat.

Brush chops with 2 Tablespoons olive oil. Add chops and sear pork on both sides until browned and not fully cooked. Add 1 Tablespoon olive oil, chopped onion, garlic, and cook for 2 minutes. Add the hot broth, jalapenos, hominy and simmer for 1 hour. Remove chops, cool and chop meat into small pieces. Put pork back into soup. Continue cooking for 30 additional minutes. The longer and slower the soup simmers the better.

Stir in cilantro and serve bowls of soup topped with sliced radish, shredded cabbage, and with warm corn tortillas.

Posole Pork Rub

2 Tablespoons brown sugar

1 Tablespoon each: ground cumin, black pepper, garlic powder, sweet paprika, chili powder, thyme

1/2 teaspoon each: nutmeg, allspice

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and mix well. Store in a tightly sealed container.

13 EPISODES on 4 HD-DVD Disk Set
19.95
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Top Soup

 Tune-in + Join me Create TV GHL Sat 11/25 9AM 9PM + Sun 11/25 3PM

The University of Illinois published a study based on matching personalities with soup preferences a few years back in the Journal of Database Marketing Lifestyle and Personality Clusters. The four most popular soups were chicken noodle, tomato, minestrone and vegetable. These four top soups were cross-tabulated with personality and lifestyle traits. What's your soup say about you?

click    to enjoy Potato Leek Soup recipe

click to enjoy Potato Leek Soup recipe

The Findings:

Chicken noodle soup; you score high on the church-going scale, are fond of pets, are more likely to be stubborn and less likely to be outdoorsy.

Minestrone; you were more likely to be physically fit, nutritionally conscious, family spirited, unlikely to own a pet and also on a restricted diet.

Vegetable soup; was a homebody at heart, less likely to be a world traveler, less likely to be spontaneous and more likely to read family and home magazines.  

Tomato soup; by contrast, seeks more adventure, were more likely to be social and also tended to enjoy books and pets.

Soup, especially this chilly time of year, is comforting to the body and soul. Delighted that my Tomato Soup falls into the top four! 

reference; Journal of Database Marketing Lifestyle and Personality Clusters

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