Holiday Favorites from BlueStar All Stars: Chef Brian Huston

With Christmas Eve right around the corner, BlueStar All Star Brian Huston is sharing his seafood chowder recipe that has been a holiday tradition in his family for many years.  ”One of the reasons I decided to become a cook professionally was my love for the holidays, especially Thanksgiving and Christmas.  I loved our family together and tasting everyone’s seasonal specialties.”

Chef de Cuisine Brian Huston’s unassuming style is perfectly suited to The Publican in Chicago, IL, a restaurant whose goal is to be as simple as possible.  The Evanston, Illinois native boasts a solid career of building on classical culinary training, including stages at some of the country’s finest restaurants.

Learn more about Brian Huston here:

Name: Brian Huston, The Publican – Chicago, IL

Favorite Holiday Recipe: Christmas Eve Seafood Chowder

Why this is your favorite holiday recipe: “Every Christmas Eve, my family would make the hour and a half drive from Chicago to Milwaukee, to tour my mother’s family’s homes.  We would see their Christmas trees and devour their spread.  We would end up at my grandma and grandpa’s house, stuffed to the gills but ready for soup.  My grandfather passed away over 10 years ago, and since then I have carried on the tradition.”

How your BlueStar range / oven helps make it perfect:  ”The first few years making the soup, I had a problem scorching the bottom of the pan, not with the BlueStar.  A slow, steady, consistent heat source prevents burning.  On the flip side, the high BTUs make for great seared scallops and keeps your water boiling when you add the lobster.”

Recipe: Christmas Eve Seafood Chowder

Preparing the Seafood:

  • 1 lb live lobster
  • 1 lb shrimp
  • 1 lb scallops
  • 1/2 cup salt
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Juice of one lemon
  • Optional aromatics
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 1 orange sliced
  • 1 lemon sliced
  • 1 tablespoon peppercorns
  • 1 teaspoon chili flake
  • 1 bouquet garni (3 branches of parsley, thyme and bay leaf tied together)
Directions:
  • In a large stock pot bring one gallon of water to boil.  Add salt.
  • Kill the lobster by using a chefs knife, quickly stab the lobster just above the head, bringing the knife all the way through the head and splitting the head through the eyes.  This gives the lobster a good, clean, quick death.
  • Plunge the lobster into water and cook for 7 minutes.  Remove and let cool.  Pick meat and set aside.
  • Remove pot from heat and add shrimp.  Depending on size of shrimp cook until cooked through, two to six minutes.  Remove and let cool.  Peel and chop.
  • Season scallops with salt and pepper.  In a small saute pan over high heat sear scallops until golden brown.  Flip scallops and cook for one more minute.  Remove and quarter scallops.
  • Combine seafood and season with salt, pepper, lemon juice and olive oil.
Preparing the Seafood Chowder:
  • 1 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup leeks, sliced
  • 1 cup fennel, sliced
  • 1/2 cup apple, peeled and chopped
  • 3 cups fish stock (See below.  You can substitute vegetable broth or water)
  • 1 cup potato, peeled and diced
  • 1 teaspoon tarragon
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
Directions:
  • In a 3 quart saucepan, melt the butter over medium high heat.  Add the leeks, fennel and apple and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.
  • Add the stock and bring to a boil.  Add the tarragon, pepper, reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered for 25 minutes or until potatoes are tender.
  • Place a cup of the soup in a blender or food processor.  Cover and process until smooth.  Add salt.
  • Fold in seafood or leave on the side if you’re serving a father or sister who don’t do seafood.
Preparing the Fish Stock:
  • 2 lb fish bones
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1/4 lb mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine
  • 1 bouquet garni (3 branches of parsley, thyme and bay leaf tied together)
Directions:
  • Melt butter in saucepan over low heat.  Add the onion, shallot, mushroom and cook for three minutes without letting them color.  Add the bones and cook for three to four minutes.
  • Add the white wine, 7 cups cold water and the bouquet and bring stock to a simmer, never allowing the stock to reach a boil.  Simmer, skimming for 20 minutes.  Take off heat and let cool for 30 minutes, during which time the impurities will sink to the bottom of pan.
  • Ladle stock through a fine strainer and set aside