This rainy, cold weather in Charlotte had me thinking about creating a recipe for Crab and Corn Chowder. Honestly, I just love the sweet flavor from the corn and crab, paired with the spiciness from the jalapeño. This is a fairly easy recipe. It can be finished in about forty-five minutes from prep to plate. Be sure to see below on how you can freeze crab, and even this Crab and Corn Chowder. That’s if there are any leftovers!
If you are local to Charlotte, head on over to The Carolina Meat & Fish Co. and grab a pound of fresh crab meat. Back fin and lump worked perfectly in this recipe!
HOW TO MAKE CRAB AND CORN CHOWDER
Cut the bacon in tiny pieces. Add bacon to a soup pot and cook until browned. As the bacon is browning, gently rinse your crab meat in a mesh strainer. I prefer to use a mesh strainer instead of a colander. Reserve in fridge.
Once browned, remove bacon and allow to drain on paper towels. Reserve at least two to three tablespoons of the bacon fat in the pot. Next, add the chopped celery, chopped onion, diced potatoes, diced jalapeno, the thyme springs, and bay leaves. Season with kosher salt and pepper.
Add back about one-half of the bacon pieces. Allow all of this to soften and get coated in the bacon fat for about four to five minutes.
Dust everything with the flour. Allow the raw flour to cook off. This will take an additional four to five minutes. Be sure to continually scrape the bottom of the pot so that the flour does not burn.
With the heat turned up, add in the first two cups of chicken broth. The mixture will start to thicken. Add in the remaining cup as needed. You want the mixture to be thin enough for it to simmer. I used almost the entire three cups in mine. Allow everything to simmer until the potatoes have softened. Take note, as to what I mean by soften. The potatoes will still have texture. Do not cook so much that they are mushy and/or falling apart. This should take about 12 to 15 minutes.
Remove the thyme sprigs and bay leaves. Hint: I always count my bay leaves before I put them in any recipe and make sure I take that same number out. You do NOT want anyone biting down on a bay leaf! Add in the heavy whipping cream and Old Bay Seasoning.
FINISHING AND SERVING THE CRAB AND CORN CHOWDER
Allow to simmer another 8 to 10 minutes. Taste for additional salt. Reduce heat. Add in the corn. I used a combination of sweet yellow and white shoepeg (links above). Gently fold in the crab meat. Reserve a few pieces of the lump crab to garnish the top of each bowl.
Allow the corn and crab to warm up. Serve the Corn and Crab Chowder in individual bowls garnished with a few pieces of lump crab, bacon pieces, fresh parsley and a dash of Old Bay. You can also garnish with a few fresh, thinly sliced jalapeños. ENJOY!
HOW TO FREEZE CRAB MEAT
Quite often, I am questioned on whether or not, crab can be frozen. The basic answer is, yes. You absolutely can freeze crab meat!
KING AND SNOW CRAB LEGS
Five to six days? No problem! If you should ever want to freeze leftover king or snow crab for a longer period of time, I would recommend vacuum sealing the whole crab legs, instead of removing the meat first. I have had great success vacuum sealing crab, and crab meat for periods of over a year. Also, vacuum sealing will help to maintain its freshness and most of its quality.
CRAB CHOWDER OR SOUP
ABSOLUTELY! In fact not only do I recommend it, I do the same thing myself! Nothing is better than getting out a bowl of good crab soup months after the crabbing season is over, and savoring the fruits of my labors without all the work. Few things are quite as versatile as crab. You may question freezing the potatoes and/or cream. Believe me, the texture may change just slightly, but the flavor will still be amazing. Suggested freezing time for crab chowder or soup should be no longer than three months.
LUMP CRAB MEAT
Yes, of course! It does not matter if you use canned lump crab meat, crab meat from a container, or fresh crab meat. I make crab cakes all the time and freeze them for future use. No reason you can’t!
Make the crab cakes. Let them cool to room temperature. This is important for freezing. You won’t have them sticking together from the heat, and they will hold together. Layer them with wax paper. This works well in those very large zip lock freezer bags, or even in a large cake-size freezer container.
I have frozen both cooked, and uncooked crab cakes. Suggest only a few months to maintain quality and flavor.