Gutherie’s Digs Seafood Chowder

I worked for many years at Gutherie’s Digs, a semi-casual restaurant that was located in Ramblewood Apartments. Ramblewood was a large “hip” complex that was the center for young professionals in the 70’s and 80’s. Here is a matchbook shows the artwork.

Gutherie's Matchbook

One of the highlights of Gutherie’s Digs, besides the great artwork and the completely rough cut Cedar interior, was the Soup Bar. We made three soups each day two that rotated and the house specialty, Seafood Chowder.

Gutherie's Seafood Chowder

People came for miles for Gutherie’s Seafood Chowder. This recipe is all from memory, but after making it everyday for 5 years I’m pretty sure I’ve got it down.

Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 30 Min.
Serves: 6 – 8

Because it was made to sit on the soup bar all day they used some industrial type products such as non-dairy creamer and dehydrated diced potatoes.

I’m going to keep the non-dairy creamer in the recipe but use fresh diced potatoes. You can substitute half and half for the non-dairy creamer if you want, but hundreds upon thousands of people who came to Gutherie’s for years and years never knew the difference.

I’m using shrimp, cod lions, lobster and baby clams. It is totally up to you as to the type of seafood you use. You can substitute Monk Fish for the lobster; we did it all the time at Gutherie’s. Some people use oysters. It is totally up to you use what ever you like.

You will need:

1 cup finely diced onion
1 cup finely diced celery
1 cup finely diced carrots
½ cup white wine
3 cloves Garlic Diced Fine
4 cups Non-Dairy Creamer mixed per instruction on packet
4 medium Potatoes Peeled and Diced 3/8 inch cubes
½ lbs. Raw Shell on Shrimp
½ lbs Cod Fillet
1 or 2 Shell on Lobster Tail
1 10oz can Baby Clams (use the juice in the can)
1 10oz can clam Juice
1 Tbsp. Chicken base or Fish Base if you have it
2 Bay leaves
1 ½ tsp. Old Bays Seasoning
5 dashes Tabasco
Salt and Pepper to taste. (I use Lawry’s Seasoned Salt and Seasoned Pepper)
Juice of half a lemon
4 Tbls. Butter
½ cup Flour

Combine the non-dairy creamer with the water called for in the non-dairy creamer instructions. I usually use hot water; it helps with dissolving the non-dairy creamer. Add the potatoes, seasonings and chicken base. Bring to a high simmer and cook till the potatoes are just barely done. Reduce to a low simmer.

While this is cooking Peel the shrimp and lobster and save shells. Cut shrimp and lobster into 3/8 inch pieces and set aside.

Put shells in large sauté pan with a little oil and cook over low heat to draw out the oils and flavors from the shells.

Drawing oil and flavor from shells

Once the oil takes on the color of the shells, you know kind of pinkish red, discard the shells and add the onions, celery and carrots.

Cook till translucent, I like to get them a little brown around the edges.

Cooking Veggies

Add the garlic and cook for another minute or so or till you can really start to smell the garlic. Deglaze the pan with the wine and add to the pot of potatoes and spices. Continue to simmer.

You will probably need to thicken this with some roux. Melt the butter in a microwave safe container. Add the flour and mix well. Microwave again till the roux losses it flour smell, usually a minute or two depending on the power of your microwave. Bring the potato mixture to a boil and add the roux till you get the thickness you like.

Now for the seafood, this is where it can get tricky. Un-like most soups you don’t really want to cook this to death or the seafood will just get tough. Just put the seafood into the chowder a little at a time and stir it in. Add the lemon now.

Let simmer for 15 to 20 minutes then serve with some chopped chives and a good hardy bread.

Gutherie's Seafood Chowder.

No Comments

Leave a Reply