Make Ahead

Crab & Corn Chowder

May 14, 2015
5 Ratings
Photo by Mark Weinberg
  • Prep time 30 minutes
  • Serves 10
Author Notes

A comforting soup that puts you in the mood for a summer night at the sea. Hearty enough for a meal, but best served with crusty garlic bread. —Kim at Something New For Dinner

Test Kitchen Notes

I enjoyed this recipe and I'm usually not the biggest chowder fan. I especially liked the use of ancho chilies, which added another dimension of flavor, gave the dish a bit of a kick, and differentiated this recipe from other crab and corn chowders. The recipe was fairly straightforward, although I can see how the use of chilies might be a bit confusing if you have never cooked with them. Although there's a bit of cook time and a lot of ingredients involved, this recipe deserves recognition! —Kate Robertson

What You'll Need
  • 2 dried ancho chiles, seeded
  • 4 bacon slices, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 stalks celery, finely chopped
  • 3 medium carrots
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced in 1/2-inch pieces
  • 5 ears of corn husked and kernels removed
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 pound Yukon gold potatoes, diced in 1/2-inch cubes
  • 6 cups chicken stock
  • 1 teaspoon Old Bay spice
  • 1 teaspoon sweet smoked Spanish paprika
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 pound canned lump crab meat
  • 1 cup cream
  • 1 handful fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 lime
  1. Put the ancho chiles in a small bowl and cover with hot water. Let rest for 30 minutes.
  2. Cook the bacon over medium-high heat in a Dutch oven or large heavy-bottomed pot until crisp. Remove the bacon and let drain on a paper-towel lined plate. Set aside.
  3. Saute the onions and garlic in the residual bacon grease for about 5 minutes, until soft. Add the celery and carrots and sauté over medium heat for another 5 minutes. Add the red pepper and corn and sauté another 5 minutes.
  4. Sprinkle the flour over the vegetables, stirring over medium high heat. Cook 3 to 4 minutes until the flour bubbles and begins to brown. Whisk in the chicken stock and add potatoes, Old Bay, and Spanish paprika. Bring to a boil.
  5. While the soup is coming to a boil, remove the ancho chiles from the bowl and put them in a food processor or blender. Whirl to chop and add 1/4 cup hot water and whirl again. Add the chile purée to soup. When pot comes to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low, add crab, and simmer until potatoes are al dente.
  6. When the potatoes are done, add cream and season with Worcestershire sauce, salt, fresh cracked pepper, and parsley. Taste and adjust seasonings.
  7. Serve in individual bowls with lime wedges and garnish with crumbled bacon. I recommend serving with big hunks of crusty garlic bread.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Bevi
  • Wendy Hummel Boord
    Wendy Hummel Boord
  • wenderzz
  • lisa

21 Reviews

lisa September 29, 2018
I had to improvise just a little as WFM didn't have ancho chiles (!!??!!) when I shopped, nor crab. I found a jar of ancho in chipotle though, which was wonderful, and frozen crab at Trader Joe's. We ate the whole batch in a couple of days. It is an absolutely delicious chowder and a keeper.
Kim P. September 4, 2017
Hi Carly, You could use a different type of dried chile. Also Amazon sells dried ancho chile. Chipotles in adobo would definitely give the soup a smokey flavor. I think I would add chipotles with the red peppers and corn, keeping in mind a little chipotle goes a very long way! Let us know how it works out.
carly September 5, 2017
Thank you so much for the feedback, Kim. I used 1 so that it wasn't overpowering. The chowder was awesome!
carly September 3, 2017
I was not able to find ancho chiles. Could I possibly use chipotles in adobo at some point in the recipe as a replacement?
Kim P. August 7, 2016
I hope the recipe works out well for you. the West Indies Crab Salad sounds delicious!
cosmiccook August 5, 2016
Thank you Kim-
Merely for taste--rather than flour I thought stick with what's already in the chowder--hence potato starch. Crazy as this sounds its 98 degrees and I'm making it! Hopefully it'll rain. Serving it with West Indies Crab Salad.
Kim P. July 25, 2016
You are right Cosmiccook, I thought you meant you wanted to thicken it further by adding potato starch. Potato starch may work. Are you trying to get a gluten-free version?
cosmiccook July 24, 2016
What is the purpose of the flour if not to thicken it?
Kim P. July 24, 2016
Ho Cosmiccook, I don't find this soup needs to be thickened, but that is a matter of personal taste, so go ahead and give it a try. I do like the corn cob and seafood stock combination idea. I'm all about more flavor! Please tell us how it works for you.
cosmiccook July 24, 2016
Could I used potato starch to thicken instead? I know chicken stock is a good neutral but why not use a combo of corn cob/veg, & seafood stock for more flavor?
Kim P. September 17, 2015
Hi Josephine. I always freeze extra soup. In this case adding the crab after it is defrosted is a good idea.
kaleandsalt September 5, 2015
Would it be possible to make this up until the addition of the crab and split it for freezing?
Kim P. August 25, 2015
Hi Josephine, I like your method of boiling the scraped corn cobs. I will give that a try the next time I make this soup. I'm so glad you enjoyed it!
Josephine August 25, 2015
I prepared the broth by boiling the scraped corn cobs in water and then supplemented with chicken stock. I used ground New Mexico red chile instead of the ancho purée. When it hydrates, it becomes similar to the purée. Medium cooked shrimp were in the freezer, so those went in at the very end just to heat through. This recipe was tasty and a beautiful color.
Bevi August 11, 2015
This was good. I used the basic recipe and revised it a bit for our tastes as well as not being able to find dried ancho chiles. I added a small chopped poblano chile in the bacon fat, after the onion and garlic. I omitted the cream and instead added more chicken stock. The seasoning was right on, except one person said he would have liked another teaspoon of Old Bay seasoning added - a dyed in the wool Baltimore boy.
Bevi August 11, 2015
Also, we used over one pound of fresh crab claw meat, and another 3 handfuls of lump crab meat. Also, a good sprinkling of white pepper.
Bevi August 12, 2015
Also, we had about a half pound of shrimp that had been boiled in Old Bay that I chopped up and added for a little different texture.
Kim P. July 16, 2015
Hi, Kim Pawell here. I just discovered my recipe was selected as a Community Pick for Best recipes by the shore. My apologies for omitting the number of carrots in the recipe. I use 3 medium-sized carrots. In response to the other comments, I like the idea of using cilantro instead of parsley and will give it a try next time I make this soup. I also agree, you can add the crab last as it only needs to be warmed up. Good suggestion. Thank you for selecting this recipe! I am so glad you enjoyed it.
Wendy H. June 26, 2015
How many carrots should be in the recipe? They aren't listed in the ingredients, I don't think.
wenderzz June 29, 2015
I went ahead and used one very large carrot, diced small like the celery, and it seemed like a good balance with the other veggies. Also, I made this at the end of a very long day and accidentally used cilantro in place of parsley. Not that I've had it the other way for a true comparison, but I think I would prefer the cilantro over the parsley, it gave it kind of an island vibe.
Bunnee B. June 18, 2015
The chowder was quite good, especially the extra spice. Some problems with the recipe. Carrots are not in the list of ingredients, but are in the instructions. I used Dungeness crab and chose not to add it with the potatoes - way too much additional cooking for something that basically just needs to be warmed up, even on simmer. It went in at the end along with the cream. With those changes, the chowder was great - no leftovers!