Sunday, March 8, 2015

Chip It, Chip It Good - St. Cloud Crockpot Cioppino

Saturday - My sweet Lord.   I really want a cruise.  I really need a cruise.  Not this minute, of course, but soon, very soon.  I have been checking out the cruise schedules at Carnival, and there are several that are suitable in terms of sailing dates, itinerary, and designated ship.  We got spoiled by the Carnival Sunshine last year.  As the family travel agent, I want to ensure we are spoiled again this year.

In the meantime, I am caught in a cooking conundrum which has resulted in my skittering between my pantry and my freezer repeatedly, shuffling cans and pulling out bags of frozen seafood, searching for recipes, rejecting everything and starting from scratch.  I am missing ingredients but I don't want to go out today but I do want to make the cioppino and the beef empanadas.  I just made another cup of coffee, and my feeling is now, screw it, I'll cook with what I have.  So I will.  When my neck and back don't ache as much.

So, I decided  to make cioppino in the crockpot.  This is inspired by a recipe I found at this site, and while I could not follow it precisely thanks to the poorly stocked market at the St. Cloud Walmart, I think I captured the spirit.  Remember, cioppino is all about what the fishermen "chipped in" to the communal cooking pot each day. You can see how flexible the recipe is in terms of seafood additions.

St. Cloud Crockpot Cioppino

  • 1 stick of butter
  • 2 medium sweet onions, chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 bunch of celery leaves, chopped
  • kosher salt
  • white pepper
  • 2 - 14.5 oz. cans of Hunts diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1 - 32 oz.container  Swanson Seafood Stock
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon dried basil
  • 1 tablespoon dried parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon granulated garlic
  • pinch of sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups white Zinfandel wine
  • 1 pound bag frozen large easy peel shrimp, defrosted in cold water, peeled, tails off
  • 1 1/2 pound bag frozen seafood medley (calamari, mussels, shrimp, scallops), defrosted in cold water
  • 1 - 6 oz. can Bumble Bee Fancy Lump Crabmeat, drained and rinsed with cold water
  • 1 - 8 oz. can Bumble Bee Fancy Whole Oysters, undrained
Melt the butter in a medium pot.  Add the onions, garlic, celery leaves, some kosher salt and white pepper, and cook over medium heat until the onions are translucent.  Add the tomatoes, seafood stock, bay leaves, basil, parsley, thyme, oregano, granulated garlic, sugar, and wine.  Bring to a boil, and then reduce heat so the soup simmers, uncovered, for 15 minutes.

Transfer the soup to a crockpot.  Cover and cook on low for an hour and a half.  Stir several times during the cooking, and after the first hour, taste and re-season if necessary.  Stir in the shrimp and seafood medley, cover and cook on low another 15 minutes, or until the shrimp are pink and firm.  Add the crabmeat and oysters, cover the crockpot and then turn it off.  Let it stay covered another 15 minutes, so that the crabmeat and oysters warm through.  Serve with garlic bread.

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