Conch Chowder

Whenever I think of chowder, I always think clam chowder. But ever since I was introduced to conch, I had always wanted to cook up a different kind of chowder, using this gem of a sea snail that’s a trademark of The Bahamas and the Caribbean.  The soup is tomato-based, unlike the clam chowder that is cooked in milk or cream.

Procuring conch can be a challenge unless you live in a state like Florida and other places in close proximity to the Caribbean. But thanks to Internet commerce, it is quite easy to purchase canned conch; or if you live in a place where Asian grocery stores are located, then you’re in luck and able to purchase frozen conch in shells.

INGREDIENTS

1 cup boiled conch meat,  chopped

1 cup chopped onions

1 cup chopped celery

1/2 cup chopped carrots

1/2 cup green or red bell pepper, chopped

2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed

2 medium potatoes, peeled and diced

2 medium tomatoes, pureed

1 6 oz can, tomato paste

2 tbsp fresh basil, chopped

1 tsp dried oregnao

2 bay leaves

1 tbsp olive oil

1 red chilli pepper, chopped and seeded

Salt & pepper to taste

6 cups water

DIRECTIONS

In a large pot, heat the oil

Saute the garlic until golden brown

Add onions and cook until tender

Add celery, bell pepper, carrots

Pour in 6 cups water

Add conch, potatoes, tomato puree, tomato paste, oregano, basil, bay leaves and chilli pepper

Bring to a boil

Reduce heat and let simmer for 90 minutes

Add salt & pepper to taste

Remove from heat and serve

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