Monday, October 15, 2012

Cioppino-Style Stew

easy, healthy pre made meal for a crowd? check

small, bite-sized pieces without shells? check

road worthy? check

Those were some of the prerequisites for a recent friendly get-together that I wanted to keep simple, healthy and low-impact on the clean up. Brian’s Mom and I cooked down here on the river and then we all loaded into the car to take dinner on the road to visit some friends.

Normally I would make the base of the stew and then add littleneck clams, shrimp and mussels to steam open at the last minute, but we had a request to make everything small and to avoid the shells, so I used a big can of chopped clams and crab meat for most of the stew and then added small shrimp 2 minutes before serving.

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Seafood Stew

Yield: 8-10 servings

Cioppino inspired stew

Ingredients:

3 stalks celery, chopped (save some celery leaves for garnish if you like)
1 medium onion, chopped
5 cloves garlic, minced (3 would be plenty, but I like a lot of garlic)
2 tsp dried oregano or 2 Tbsp fresh oregano
1-2 tsp cracked red pepper flakes
3 bay leaves
2 Tbsp olive oil
1-2 cups chopped clams (one of those big 51-oz cans contains just under 2 cups chopped clams and 2-3 cups clam juice)
2-3 cups clam juice
2 28-oz cans chopped tomatoes
1 cup merlot, pinot noir or other medium bodied red wine
1 cup pinot grigio or sauvignon blanc
1-2 lbs crabmeat
1 lb shrimp, deveined, tails removed

Directions:

- heat olive oil over medium high heat and add onion, celery, oregano and red pepper flakes
- once vegetables are softened and translucent add garlic and stir constantly for 1 minute
- add tomatoes, clams, clam juice, wines and bay leaves, bring to a boil and then lower to a simmer for 20 minutes
- make ahead to this point and cool or add crabmeat and allow heat through for 5 minutes
- just before serving keep stew at a very low simmer where there is steam coming off but there aren't any bubbles or movement. Add shrimp and allow to poach gently for 1-2 minutes
- garnish with celery leaves

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