Oyster, Fennel, and Bacon Chowder


This recipe is by Chef Cory Schreiber, Wildwood Restaurant and Bar, Portland, Oregon.  It is very similar to a clam chowder, except, duh, it has oysters.

Oyster, Fennel, and Bacon Chowder

Ingredients

  • 4 slices of bacon, halved lengthwise then cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 leek, white part only, thinly sliced
  • 1 fennel bulb, trimmed and chopped
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 4 cups fish stock OR chicken stock
  • 2 cups milk OR heavy cream
  • 2 cups peeled and chopped Yukon Gold potatoes
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme
  • 2 teaspoons cracked fennel seeds
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 pint shucked oysters and their juices
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons freshly grated lemon peel
  • 1 teaspoon ground white pepper

Instructions

In a large stockpot, brown the bacon over medium heat.  Once the bacon is crisped, use a slotted spoon to transfer the bacon to paper towels to drain.  Pour out the bacon drippings, reserving 1 tablespoon.  Wipe out the pot.

Return the reserved bacon drippings to the stockpot over medium low heat.  Add the onion, leek, fennel, and water.  Cover and sweat until the vegetables are soft, about 10 minutes.  Do not brown the vegetables.

Stir in the stock, milk (or cream), potatoes, 1 teaspoon salt, thyme, fennel seeds, and bay leaf.  Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the potatoes are tender, about 15 to 20 minutes.

Add in the oysters, lemon peel, salt as needed, and pepper.  Simmer about 5 minutes more.  Fish out the bay leaf (get it? fish?) and discard.

Ladle the soup into bowl and garnish with bacon.

Serves 4.