Chowder on the west coast is typically rich and creamy, perhaps scented with dill or tarragon. Sometimes it’s tomato based, with the savoury flavours of the Mediterranean. But Chef Duncan Ly looked to his Asian heritage to create a chowder that’s bright and vibrant with the flavours of ginger, lemongrass, and Thai curry. This chowder is made hearty with two kinds of squash as well as a variety of west coast seafood.
- Butter 2 Tbs
- Lemongrass 2 stalks, cut into 2-3 pieces and lightly smashed
- Ginger 2” piece, peeled and roughly chopped
- Carrot I large, roughly chopped
- Celery 4 stalks, roughly chopped
- Yellow Onion 1 large, roughly chopped
- Leek 1, white part only, thinly sliced
- Garlic 4 cloves, roughly chopped
- Kuri Squash 2 lbs, peeled, seeded and cut into 1” cubes
- Chicken Stock 8 cups
- Coconut Milk 8 cups
- Thai Red Curry Paste 1-2 Tbs
- Juice of 3 limes
- Fish Sauce 1 Tbs
- Salt and White Pepper to taste
- Diced Kuri Squash 2 cups
- Diced Potatoes 2 cups
- Baby Squash (pattypan or crookneck) 8, quartered
- Kohlrabi 4 small, peeled and quartered
- Pearl Onions ½ cup
- Spot Prawns 1 to 1 ½ lbs
- Mussels 1 to 1 ½ lbs
- Halibut 1 to 1 2/2 lbs, cut into 1” dice
- Whipping Cream 2 cups
- Chives or Cilantro chopped, for garnish
- Olive Oil for garnish
- In a large stockpot over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the lemongrass, ginger, carrots, celery, onions, leeks, and garlic. Turn the heat down to low. Slowly sweat the vegetables for 15 to 20 minutes or until they are tender. Add the squash and continue cooking for approx. 10 minutes.
- Add the chicken stock to the pot. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for about 10 minutes. Add the coconut milk and red curry paste and continue to simmer for about 15 minutes.
- Remove the lemongrass stalks then, using a blender, process the chowder base until smooth and creamy. Strain chowder base through a fine-mesh strainer and add the lime juice and fish sauce. Season with salt and white pepper to taste.
- Bring the chowder base to a boil in a large pot. Add the diced squash, potatoes, baby squash, kohlrabi and pearl onions and cook until tender, approx. 15 minutes
- Add the prawns, mussels and halibut and cook until the mussels open and the seafood is cooked, about a minute or two. Discard any shells that do no open. Stir in the cream and cook for 1 minute
- Serve the chowder in bowls topped with chopped chives or cilantro and a drizzle of olive oil.
Excerpted from The Wickaninnish Cookbook: Rustic Elegance on Nature’s Edge by The Wickaninnish Inn. Copyright © 2018 Wickaninnish Inn. Published by Appetite by Random House®, a division of Penguin Random House Canada Limited. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved.