Caribbean Conch Chowder with Conch Fritters

Total Time:
1 hr 40 min
30 min
1 hr 10 min

6 to 8 servings

  • 3 slices bacon, diced
  • 4 whole allspice berries
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped yellow onions
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery
  • 1/2 cup chopped carrots
  • 1/2 cup chopped green bell peppers
  • 1 Scotch bonnet (habanero) pepper, stemmed, seeded, and minced, or to taste
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh garlic
  • 4 cups seeded and chopped fresh tomatoes, with their juices
  • 6 cups shellfish stock or clam juice
  • 1 1/2 pounds new potatoes, quartered
  • 2 pounds cleaned and diced conch meat
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley leaves
  • Caribbean Conch Fritters, recipe follows
  • Caribbean Conch Fritters:
  • 2 teaspoons canola or vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped white onions
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped red bell peppers
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon minced jalapeno peppers
  • 1/2 teaspoon Essence, plus more for seasoning, recipe follows
  • 2 cups steamed or par-boiled and finely diced conch meat (about 1 pound)
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • Dash hot red pepper sauce
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley leaves
  • Vegetable oil, for frying
  • Emeril's ESSENCE Creole Seasoning (also referred to as Bayou Blast):
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons paprika
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme
  • In a large pot, cook the bacon over medium heat until browned and the fat is rendered, about 5 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon.

  • In the center of a 6-inch square piece of cheesecloth, place the allspice, bay leaves, and thyme. Draw up the sides to form a pouch and tie with kitchen twine to form a bouquet garni.

  • To the fat in the pan, add the onions, celery, carrots, and bell peppers and cook over medium-high heat, stirring, until soft, about 4 minutes. Add the hot pepper and garlic and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Add the tomatoes and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add the stock and potatoes and bring to a boil. Add the bouquet garni, reduce the heat, and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 25 minutes. Add the conch and cook until the meat is tender, about 20 minutes.

  • Remove from the heat and discard the bouquet garni. Add the lime juice and parsley, stir to combine, and adjust the seasoning to taste.

  • Ladle into soup bowls with several fritters served in each bowl. Serve hot.

Caribbean Conch Fritters:
  • In a saute pan or large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions, bell peppers, garlic, peppers, and Essence and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add the conch and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and cool.

  • Into a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Add the egg, milk, and pepper sauce and mix to make a thick batter. Stir in the parsley and the cooled conch mixture.

  • In a large deep saute pan or cast iron skillet, heat enough oil to come 2 to 3 inches up the sides of the pan to 350 degrees F.

  • Drop the batter, a heaping tablespoon at a time, into the oil and cook, turning once, until golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Season with Essence and serve hot.

  • Yield: about 3 1/2 dozen

Emeril's ESSENCE Creole Seasoning (also referred to as Bayou Blast):
  • Combine all ingredients thoroughly.

  • Yield: 2/3 cup

  • Recipe from "New New Orleans Cooking", by Emeril Lagasse and Jessie Tirsch

  • Published by William and Morrow, 1993.

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