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Oyster Spinach Chowder

By Chef John Ash

This hearty chowder is a rich comfort food to be enjoyed on chilly winter nights.

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    Serves 8

    Total Time 1 hour

    Prep Time 15 mins

    Difficulty Level Medium


    4 ounces diced pancetta or lean bacon

    1 tbsp unsalted butter

    1 tbsp olive oil

    3 cups sliced onions

    2 cups sliced leeks

    3 garlic cloves, very thinly sliced

    6 cups chicken stock

    2 tsps fresh thyme leaves

    2 cups thickly sliced small new potatoes

    2 cups heavy cream

    1/4 cup dry sherry

    Kosher or sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

    4 cups lightly packed baby spinach leaves

    1 tbsp grated lemon zest

    1 pound (approx. 2 1/2 cups) small shucked oysters

    3 tbsps finely chopped chives


    1. In a heavy bottomed soup pot, sauté the pancetta in the butter and olive oil until browned. Remove from pot and drain on paper towels. Discard all but 2 tablespoons of fat.

    2. Add the onions, leeks and garlic to the pot and sauté until soft but not brown. Add stock and thyme, bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes.

    3. Add the potatoes and simmer for 5 minutes or until potatoes are almost done. Add the cream and sherry and season to taste with salt and pepper.

    4. Heat through but do not boil so that cream won’t take on a “cooked” flavor. Divide spinach leaves, oysters, zest and reserved pancetta in bottom of 8 warm bowls.

    5. Ladle hot soup over and top with chives. Serve immediately.

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