Whether as a simple meal during the summertime or as a hot dish to warm up during the cold of winter, chowder is a great way to go. One of the nicest things about this dish is that there are several different kinds, making it possible to enjoy it regularly without having to eat the same old thing. Here are some examples of the different kinds, as well as suggestions on how to serve them.
Generally speaking most chowders are a cream-based soup creation that includes milk, cream and potatoes with some herbs for flavor. Above and beyond this basic recipe, there are a number of ways to prepare chowder, with each variation having its own unique taste. Often, the different kinds originate from specific regions around the country, and gain popularity as people move around.
Perhaps the single most popular types are those that are based on various types of marine life. Fish chowder may come in several forms, and shrimp a favorite along the Gulf Coast of the United States. In New England, clam chowder is found in just about every restaurant from Baltimore and extending up to Maine. Corn chowder, rich with whole kernels of corn in a creamy base and small chunks of potatoes, hails from the Midwestern portion of the country.
Ham chowder made its first appearance as a great way to use up the scraps of the ham dinner around the holidays, becoming a favorite dish for celebrating New Year’s Day in the Virginia and North Carolina area. Along with these types, there are other variations and combinations found all over the country, often combining more than one main ingredient into a tasty blend.
While the number of canned brands has proliferated in the last 20 or so years, many people still prefer to go with a soup that is prepared at home, cooked slowly in a crock pot or allowed to thicken and simmer in a stock pot on a low setting. As with many types of aromatic soups, preparing chowder from scratch has the added bonus of creating a fragrance that can encompass the entire home, setting mouths to watering in anticipation.
Most purists insist that little is needed to accompany good chowder. Simple bread and perhaps a salad is more than enough in the way of accompaniments. Depending on the part of the country, it may be served with crackers, cornbread muffins, crusty rolls, bread sticks, or chunks of French bread. One good way to combine the two is to prepare bread bowls and then fill them with the steaming hot chowder of your choice.
As a hearty and practical way to use common ingredients and leftovers to make a tasty meal, chowder has a special place in the hearts of many people. Simple to make and fun to eat, recipes abound in cookbooks and online.