My Christmas Eve Seafood Chowder

Our tradition would usually be to have a traditional Italian Seafood Dinner...but since it will only be Beach Walker Boy and myself this year, I am making our favorite Seafood Chowder. I took this recipe from Coastal Living magazine last year and it is simple and wonderful.
Beach Walker Boy loves it so much, he'll even have it for breakfast.
This recipe calls for shrimp, but you can substitute 1 pound of your favorite fresh seafood—clams, bay scallops, or mild white fish—alone or in any combination you like. I'll use shrimp and scallops that I'll get locally from Mt. P Seafood on Shem Creek. They have such fresh seafood. I'll serve it with a great fresh salad and hot french bread... Yum!
I'll prepare a beautiful table reminiscent of my childhood holidays when my mother would set a table with her best china and silverware, gorgeous linens and lovely candlesticks. It was a feast for the eyes.
Our family not only set a beautiful table for the holiday but every Sunday as well ,when all the family came together to share a meal. Sunday's were the best of times and often we would spend hours at the table savoring everything from soup to nuts.

It was hardly about the food and much more about family.

Seafood Chowder

Yield Makes 4 servings

6 slices thick-cut bacon
1 large onion, chopped
2 celery ribs, chopped
1 1/2 pounds small red potatoes, peeled and cubed (about 4 1/2 cups)
3 (8-ounce) bottles clam juice
1 cup heavy cream
1 pound peeled and deveined shrimp
2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley
1/2 teaspoon salt
12 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper (I'll only pepper to taste because 12 teaspoons is too much for me)


Cook bacon in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat until crisp. Remove bacon, and drain on paper towels, reserving 2 tablespoons drippings in pan. Coarsely crumble bacon. Set aside. Cook onion and celery in hot drippings over medium heat 7 minutes or until tender, stirring often. Add potatoes and clam juice. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, cover, and simmer 10 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Add cream, and heat just to simmering. Add seafood, and simmer 3 minutes or until done. Stir in parsley, salt, and pepper. Top with crumbled bacon.

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