Seafood Bisque … or chowder? You be the judge.

So it snowed…yesterday…again. So we made soup…yesterday…again. It was so worth this snow for the soup let me just tell you. Every time I here “bisque” I think of that episode from Seinfeld when Elaine…oh you know the one. I don’t need to get down to the nitty gritty. We were just hankering for some seafood this past week and because of the white stuff falling from the sky we decided to make it a seafood bisque. It’s kind of like a transition soup that has you going from Winter into Spring don’t you think? You still get that hearty, soup feeling that you want with those cold winter months, but then you get that fresh seafood taste that you yearn for in the summer time. It’s a win win in my book! Which is why I thought it was totally ok to make soup in May. I just hope I didn’t jinx us for all eternity. If it snows next week, then we all know why.


We’re calling this dish a seafood bisque/chowder/soup because Zach and I had a discussion last night on whether this was a chowder or a bisque. To be honest with you, I can’t tell the difference. As I was wikipediaing this dilemma, I found that the two of them are both much of the same except that chowders tend to be chunky and bisques tend to be creamy (pureed in a blender, if that makes sense). So if we are going on definition terms then this is a chowder, yet I’m still calling it a bisque because I really just like the word.

Anyway, let’s talk good beer. We are on a Great Divide kick. Zach brought home a glorious 12 pack one day and we’ve been hooked ever since. We still have yet to travel to this brewery, even though it’s 10 miles down the road. I know we are slackers. One of these days, but they still brew superb beer…even in bottle form. We chose to pair this with Great Divide’s Rye Lager: Hoss. We were stumped with this beer pairing. We had no idea what to pair it with. When I think of seafood, I think of white wine so the most logical route would have been to go with something aged in white wine barrels. Unfortunately for us we didn’t have any bottles of beer that have been aged in white wine barrels laying around which is strange because we usually do. This beer was a great substitute though and a great beer just all together. It’s a very rich, malty beer and was perfect on a cold night. It was a great addition to this meal.

There are a lot of steps to this bisque/chowder/soup. Keep close attention!

You will start with your mushroom base (or as I like to call it: homemade condensed cream of mushroom soup)

Cut your veggies.

Saute your veggies in olive oil over medium heat.

Aren’t they just adorable once they are all tender and juicy.

In another cooking vessel (aka your saucepan), melt the butter. Ohhhhh…Buttteeeerrrrr.

Whisk in the flour to form a roux.

Allow the flour to “disappear” and add the half and half, broth and mushroom mixture. Season with salt and pepper, and stir to combine!

Bring the sauce to a boil then reduce to a simmer and cook for 3/4 minutes. Once thickened…remove remove remove from the heat! This bad boy can go from thin to a clump of goo in a matter of seconds!


You will literally do the same…exact…thing for the celery base EXCEPT you will use celery instead of the mushrooms, but I didn’t need to tell you that did I?

This is how your celery base will look when all is said and done.


So onto the seafood bisque/chowder/soup. This soup would be super easy if there weren’t so many steps involved, but I promise it’s so worth it.

Cut some more veggies…seems like the story of our lives today.

Anyway, melt the butter over medium heat in a dutch oven. I used a cast iron, because they’re the best. I don’t think I need any more reason than that.

Add the celery and onion and season with salt and pepper. Don’t forget the garlic! (sounds a bit repetitive … I’m sorry)

Add your liquids…all of them, and don’t skimp. Season with salt and pepper. This soup loves it’s salt and pepper! Add the tomato paste and stir to get rid of the “clumps.”

Bring the soup to a boil then reduce to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes.

This stuff brings meaning into my life.

Now you will prepare your seafood, less the crab.

Heat the olive oil in a saute pan and add the bay scallops and shrimp (this may be done in batches depending on how large your pan is…and if you don’t have a pan the size of North America, then you will DEFINITELY need to do this in two batches). Cook for 3/4 minutes or until fully cooked. Doesn’t take long!

Remove from the heat and transfer immediately to the soup using a serrated spoon. Add the crab meat and stir to combine. Season some more if you love salt…like I do.

Let it thicken then serve!

Top with all the deliciousness that comes with bacon, parsley and oyster cracker! Yum Yum!

If you would like to make your life a heck of a lot easier then just print the recipe below =)

Happy Thursday!