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Shrimp and fish chowder

Shrimp and fish chowder

2 baking potatoes, pierced in several pieces with a fork

4 slices bacon

2 cloves garlic

1 each, trimmed, coarsely chopped: onion, celery rib, green pepper

2 bay leaves

1 tablespoon fish sauce

1 teaspoon seafood seasoning, such as Old Bay

1/2 teaspoon salt

Freshly ground pepper

2 bottles (4 ounces each) clam juice

1/2 cup whole milk

1 can (12 ounces) unsweetened low-fat evaporated milk

2 white fish fillets, cut into chunks

1/2 pound peeled, deveined raw frozen shrimp, defrosted, coarsely chopped

1/4 cup half-and-half

1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

1/2 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon

Asian hot chili sauce, such as sambal oelek, optional

Makes 6 servings.

Cook the potatoes in a microwave on high (100 percent) until just fork tender, about 10 minutes. Peel; cut into chunks. Set aside. Meanwhile, process the onion, celery and green pepper in a food processor until coarsely chopped; set aside. Cook the bacon, turning occasionally, in a large skillet over medium-high heat until crispy. Drain on paper towels.

Discard all but 1 tablespoon of the fat from the skillet. Add the reserved onion, celery and green pepper; cook over medium-high heat. Cook until onions begin to soften, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic; cook, stirring, 1 minute. Stir in the reserved potatoes, bay leaves, fish sauce, seafood seasoning, salt and pepper to taste. Cook, stirring, until well mixed, about 1 minute.

Add the clam juice and both kinds of milk; heat just to a boil. Add the fish chunks and shrimp; lower heat to a simmer. Stir in the half-and-half. Cover; cook until fish is cooked through, about 8 minutes. Meanwhile, crumble the bacon; stir in the bacon, fresh parsley and chili sauce, if using.

Nutritional information per serving: 264 calories, 29 percent of calories from fat, 8 g fat, 3 g saturated fat, 111 mg cholesterol, 22 g carbohydrates, 25 g protein, 884 mg sodium, 2 g fiber.

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