Sunday, August 19, 2007

Spicy Conch Chowder

I love conch shells, and have only tried conch meat in a chowder before. When I was browsing through the seafood section recently, I ran into a friend who was buying conch meat. So, I bought some too. Haven't cooked conch meat til now, but wanted to try this recipe that I came across from a popular seafood chain restaurant called Jax Fish House.

Conchs are harvested from the waters of the Caribbean and Flordia, and in season now during summer. Most conch meat are sold cleaned and trimmed. Besides asian markets, conch meat can also be found in some speciality grocery stores around here.

Recipe for Conch Chowder

1/4 cup olive oil

2 cups chopped red bell pepper

1 cup chopped green bell pepper

1 1/2 cups Vidalia onions

2 jalapenos, stems removed, seeded and sliced into thin rings

1 cup chopped celery

2 cups Idaho potatoes, chrubbed but not peeled

1/4 cup finely chopped garlic

1/2 cup chopped tomatoes

2 springs fresh thyme

2 bay leaves

1 Tbs dry oregano

1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

1 1/2 cups tomato juice

3 cups bottled clam juice or fish stock

1 1/2 lbs. conch meat, pounded to tenderize and minced

salt and pepper to tasteIn a large saucepan, heat the olive oil. Add red and green bell peppers, onions, jalapenos, celery and potatoes. Cook, stirring often, til onions are soft.

Stir in the garlic and continue cooking for a few more minutes. Stir in chopped tomato, thyme, bay leaves, oregano and cayenne. Cook for 5 mins, add tomato juice. Increase heat to reduce liquid to 3/4 cup, stirring occasionally. Add clam juice and conch meat. Simmer, partially covered for 30-40 mins. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Recipe from Jax Fish House.

Note: Perfect for a cool, rainy evening. The soup was easy to make and wonderful with toasted garlic bread. Added jalapenos and the cayenne pepper to individual bowls and they add a bright spicy flavor to the soup.

Besides the fun experience of listening to the ocean by holding the conch shell to your ear, wikipedia states that the conch meat is eaten either raw, as in salads, or cooked, as in fritters, chowders, gumbos, and burgers. In East Asian cuisines, the meat is often cut into thin slices and then steamed or stir-fried. In El Salvador, live conch is served in a cocktail of onion, tomato, cilantro, and lemon juice. Conch meat is also often confused with Scungilli, which is more accurately whelk meats. Picture of conch copied from wikipedia's site.


SteamyKitchen said...

Wow~ conch! We have a ton of conch here in FL but I have never tried cooking. Its kind of chewy. Was your conch chewy?

KellytheCulinarian said...

I can't say I've ever had conch, but this looks quite interesting.

East Meets West Kitchen said...

Hi Steamy Kitchen,
Yeah, the conch was pounded and minced, and the texture reminded me of manhattan clam chowder. Kinda chewy.

Hi Kelly,
It WAS interestingly delicious!

Anonymous said...

I wonder if it's the same as periwinkles in UK.

East Meets West Kitchen said...

Hi Judy,
I think british periwinkles are flat shells whereas conch shells are spiral. Will post a picture of conch shell on the post fyi. :)

Anonymous said...

What is conch? It's my first time hearing this. :O ...and I don't remember seeing them here either. If I have seen it, I would have asked (or "googled") and if I have done that, I would have known.

East Meets West Kitchen said...

Hi Tigerfish,
You probably seen the big conch shells in souvenir shops, and I added more info on conch in my notes fyi. :)

Little Corner of Mine said...

This looks yummy and hearty! I want this too! :P

Big Boys Oven said...

hmmmmm.... it must be a lovely conch chowder and yet spicy too. We have such similar conch here in can. You really cook...

Blur Mommy said...

This looks really yummy!! I've never had conch chowder before. When I was living in FL, it's either conch fritters or spicy conch salad. : )

East Meets West Kitchen said...

Hey C,
Thanks! It's very easy to do!

Hi Big Boys Oven,
Thanks! I think you can make this recipe with canned conch too.

Hi Blur Mommy,
Thanks! It's like a spicy manhattan clam chowder but with conch and yummy! :)

J@n!ce said...

Conch is something new to me. Does the soup taste somethign like clam chowder? :)

Home Cooking said...

wow never had this dish before. looks so delish.

Retno Prihadana said...

I haven´t tried this. Looks really inviting and spicy.

East Meets West Kitchen said...

Hi Janice,
Yes, it kinda does taste like a tomatoe based manhatten clam chowder.

Hi Isha,

Hi Retno Prihadana,
Thanks! You can make it as spicy as you like. :)

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the great conch chowder recipe--I've just linked to this post from my party planning site to help a reader come up with food ideas for her 50th birthday party! Keep up the good work.

deerfieldparksouth said...

Quite worthwhile info, thank you for the article.