Caribbean Crab, Pumpkin and Corn Chowder Bisque


Most chowder and bisque recipes are made with heavy cream, half & half, whole milk, butter and lots of fat.  That's what makes them so decadent and that's why they taste so good!  I love bisque and I love chowders, so I came up with a way to have that creamy and satisfying taste without adding all that fat.  I use pureed pumpkin as a way to add that creamy texture and use fresh herbs, strong spices, sweet corn and sherry to wake up those taste buds.  Although this recipe has an identity crisis (is it a bisque?  is it a chowder?) you certainly won't miss the fat!  

Pumpkin is chock full of goodness!  You can tell by its bright color that it's going to be good for you.  Not only is pumpkin loaded with vitamin A and antioxidant carotenoids like alpha & beta carotenes, it's a good source of vitamins C, K and E, along with lots of minerals like magnesium, potassium and iron.  

Ingredients
½ cup chopped onion
½ cup chopped fennel
2 tbsp. chopped fresh dill
2 tbsp. chopped fresh thyme
3 Tbsp. butter 
2 Tbsp. flour
1 tbsp. Old Bay season
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon of curry powder
Pinch nutmeg
Pinch (or two) of Cayenne Pepper (depending on how spicy you like it)

1 ½ cup of milk (I use skim milk)
2 ½ cups of chicken stock 
15 oz can of pumpkin puree
3 tbsp. of sugar
1/2 lb. fresh crabmeat (can substitute canned, but fresh is always tastier)
½ cup of fresh sweet corn
Salt & Black pepper to taste (may have to adjust throughout process)

Garnish
Chopped chives
Sliced & toasted almonds
Dry Sherry

Directions
In a large heavy saucepan melt the butter until bubbly; sauté the chopped onions, fennel and spices until vegetables are just tender. Stir in the flour and stir constantly to mix into a smooth roux. Stir in fresh herbs.  Gradually stir in the milk and then stock, and continue to heat while stirring until you have a smooth thickened sauce.  Stir in the pumpkin puree.  Use immersion hand blender to puree and make smooth (if don’t have hand blender, work carefully with standing blender to puree soup until smooth).  After mixing well, add sugar, stir, and reduce the heat and simmer gently for 5 minutes. Add the crabmeat and corn.  Garnish with chopped chives, toasted almonds and a drizzle of dry sherry.