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Crawfish Chowder with Bacon & Potatoes

A creamy, thick, hearty crawfish chowder made with bacon, potatoes and onions.  This traditional soup can be made quickly and feed a crowd easily.  Perfect for dipping temperatures and potlucks!  Learn how to make this easy chowder from scratch.

Onions and potatoes on a cutting board.

What is chowder?

Chowder is a rich soup typically made with seafood or corn and made with potatoes and onions.  The word chowder likely descended from the French word, chaudiére, meaning stew pot.  Fish hawkers in England were also called ‘Jowters’, so who knows?!   If you have some insight, please share by leaving a comment below.  The foodies will thank you:)

Chowder always conjured up images of a dedicated cook slaving away for hours perfecting the perfect pot of soup.  With great skill, the cook would baby the ingredients and stir until the masterpiece was just perfect.

I was surprised to learn that chowder is extremely easy to make and is not much different than most other types of soup.  Sure chowders are thicker and usually have seafood but that’s the only distinguishing feature of this dish.  It’s just like any other soup.  You start with a soup base, add some aromatics and herbs, add the protein.  So, basically no excuses.  Make your own chowder and serve with crusty bread.  Your family will be impressed by your new set of cooking skills.

This recipe was inspired by the cold weather creeping in and a cookbook called The Soup Bible.  I was reading a couple of soup recipes to my husband and he started piping in, ‘Oh! that would be great with crawfish!’.  My heart swelled as I witnessed my husband get excited about recipe development.  Definitely a turning point in our relationship.  The best part, he was absolutely right, it was great with crawfish!  Maybe we should get him out of his workshop and into the kitchen.  I could share, maybe, a little bit.  Shall we tell him?

Chowder Variations

Change up your chowder by swapping out simple ingredients.  Below are some of my favorite chowder ingredients.

  • ham
  • milk (instead of cream, it’s healthier)
  • cooked bacon, crumbled
  • shrimp
  • chicken
  • mussels
  • cod
  • potatoes
  • scallops
  • sherry
  • corn
Diced onions and potatoes on a cutting board.

My favorite veggie peeler is this one made by my hubby.  Of course I’m biased, I am married to this sweet, tall Scandinavian creative;)

Diced vegetables and bacon in a soup pot.
Crawfish meat in a plastic package.
A bowl of crawfish chowder.

5 tips for how to make chowder thicker

  1. Add pureed nuts to the soup.  Simple soak nuts in water (cashews are great), then blend in a blender or food processor until smooth and creamy.
  2. Puree some of the soup with with a stick blender or in an upright blender.  Add back to the soup.
  3. Add cream.
  4. Use potato flakes (instant mashed potatoes).  A little goes a long way.  Start with a 1/4 cup and work you way up.
  5. Add a slurry made with a starchy thickener and a cup of water.  Good ones to use are corn starch, flour, arrowroot powder and tapioca.  Mix with water first to dissolve, then stir into hot soup.

My favorite method for thickening soup is by adding potatoes flakes.  I think the texture is the most authentic versus corn starch for instance.  It could just be me but I think corn starch has great uses in Asian cooking but I am not a fan of using it in soup.  What is your preference?  Am I just being weird?

Enjoy this collaborative creation and let us know how yours turns out.  Take a pic and #FusionCraftiness on Instagram so we can see.

Check out this article for more details on chowder.


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Crawfish Chowder with Bacon and Potatoes. An easy, creamy crawfish soup perfected with bacon, potatoes and cream.

Crawfish Chowder with Bacon & Potatoes

Yield: 10 small bowls or 7 large bowls
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes

A creamy, thick, hearty soup made with bacon, potatoes, onions and crawfish.  This traditional soup can be made quickly and can feed a crowd easily.  Perfect for dipping temperatures and potlucks!

Ingredients

  • 4 slices of thick cut, smoked bacon, diced
  • 1 lg or 2 small onions, white or yellow, peeled and diced
  • 2 lg Russet potatoes, peeled, chopped
  • 2 cups of vegetable or chicken broth
  • 8 oz bottled clam juice
  • 2 lb crawfish tails, I use frozen
  • parsley
  • chives
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 8 oz half & half (light cream)

Optional

  • Crusty bread

Instructions

  1. In a large soup or stock pot over medium heat, add bacon and cook until fat renders but not crispy.
  2. Add onion & potatoes and cook until veggies are soft.
  3. Add broth & clam juice, simmer 20 minutes.
  4. Mash ingredients with a bean masher, stir, add water if needed (adjust to personal taste of thickness)
  5. Add crawfish and herbs, cook 3 minutes.
  6. Add cream, adjust seasoning and liquid for desired taste and thickness, heat until just below simmering so as not to 'break' the chowder.
  7. Serve with crusty bread, YUM!

Notes

  • This is a very versatile recipe.  You can sub corn or beans for crawfish and have an entirely new recipe.
  • You can make this vegan friendly simply by doubling the veggie broth, adding your favorite protein (beans, tofu, TVP etc.) and adding Braggs Sea Kelp Delight Seasoning to taste.  Also, sub the bacon for 3 Tbs of cooking oil and add smoked paprika when you add the broth.  It sounds like a lot of changes but I think you are already savvy at making these changes;)
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 10 Serving Size: 1.5 cups
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 163Total Fat: 4gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 114mgSodium: 286mgCarbohydrates: 13gFiber: 2gSugar: 3gProtein: 18g

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Pinterest

Pam

Wednesday 1st of November 2017

This sounds delightful and perfect for the cooler weather. I can think of lots of variations you could make of it. Thanks for sharing.

Elaine @ Dishes Delish

Wednesday 1st of November 2017

Mmm. I've never had crawfish chowder! It looks so delicious, especially with the bacon! Mmmm. I can't wait to try it!

Amy

Wednesday 1st of November 2017

Thank you for including a vegan version! I'm dairy free, so while the cream sounds delicious, you can also use culinary coconut milk to give that full, creamy taste. This looks SO good.

Traci @ The Kitchen Girl

Wednesday 1st of November 2017

Omgosh! I never think about buying crawfish...what a great idea! This chowder sounds off-the-hook delish! I'm bookmarking this to make and sharing. Thanks!

Helene

Wednesday 1st of November 2017

This could be my weeknight favorite. Just we don't get crawfish here, but I wished! Maybe I can make your chowder with prawns?

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