Well, the chowder turned out very good and as promised, here's the recipe. Kevin and I were too busy high fiving across the table though so we didn't take any photos. (We killed it on this one, though.)
Smoked Oyster Chowder with Canadian Bacon
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 2 shallots, minced
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 24 freshly shucked oysters
- 1 1/2 cups nonfat milk
- 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley
- sea salt and pepper to taste
First, we smoked the oysters just like we've been doing: shucked, on the half shell on the Traeger 180 degrees F for an hour and a half. Add a splash of olive oil, and a small piece of Canadian bacon on top. The Canadian bacon adds more smoky flavor, and we used it in the chowder too.
Bring the oysters in from the grill, remove the Canadian bacon, and separate the oysters from their shells. Chop both the oysters and the Canadian bacon into small pieces and set aside (refrigerate if it'll be a while). Keep any of the juice that comes from the oysters to add to the chowder later.
Put 2 tablespoons of butter in a large pot over medium heat. As it starts to brown, add the garlic and saute until soft. Then add the minced shallots and cook until translucent (about 5 minutes). Then add the white wine and reduce by half, stirring to get any brown bits off the bottom of the pan. (At this point, the first time I did it my pan was too hot when I added the cream and milk and it curdled and then Kevin had to go to the store to get me more, so I advise letting the pan cool a bit before adding milk and cream.)
Add milk and cream, oyster juice, and bring to a simmer. Let simmer a couple minutes, then add the chopped oysters and chopped Canadian bacon and simmer another couple minutes. Then add the chopped parsley, salt and pepper to taste, and maybe a pinch of cayenne, and serve with some garlic bread, a caesar salad, and the rest of the wine from the bottle you opened earlier. We didn't add the cayenne but I will next time. We also put a dash of chipotle Tabaso at the end.