Throughout The Bahamas this is most requested soup. It’s served with a side of Sherry-Pepper Vinegar, and you should anticipate the senses being awakened with the aroma of this delectable legendary conch chowder. It’s fully loaded with tender morsels of conch, vegetables, herbs and spices, and—for the finale—a warm slice of buttery light and fluffy johnny cake. Serves 8
Sherry Pepper Vinegar
1 cup (250 mL) sherry vinegar
1 Scotch bonnet pepper, cut in half
3 sprigs thyme
4 Queen conchs
1 Tbsp (15 mL) Raquel’s Seasoned Salt
(see recipe, page 2)
3 Tbsp (45 mL) olive oil
1/2 sweet onion, diced
2 stalks celery, finely diced
1/2 green bell pepper, finely diced
6 cloves garlic, finely diced
1 tsp (5 mL) fresh thyme leaves
1 Tbsp (15 mL) tomato paste
2 cups (500 mL) diced tomatoes
2 kaffir lime leaves
1 russet potato, diced
2 Caribbean sweet potatoes, diced
2 carrots, diced
1 Tbsp (15 mL) Worcestershire sauce
2 fresh basil leaves, chiffonade
1 Tbsp (15 mL) chopped fresh
Fine sea salt and pepper to taste
1. To prepare the sherry pepper vinegar, in a small 1.5-quart (1.5 L) saucepan, heat vinegar, Scotch bonnet pepper and thyme sprigs over medium heat. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 10–15 minutes.
2. Strain vinegar and discard pepper and thyme. Let cool and store in a sterilized jar.
3. Follow recipe for tenderizing conchs on page 18, reserving the flavorful stock.
4. Dice conchs and season with seasoned salt. Set aside.
5. In an 8-quart (8 L) pot, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion, celery, bell pepper, garlic and thyme and cook for 3 minutes.
6. Stir in tomato paste. Add tomatoes and cook for 3 minutes more.
7. Add reserved stock and bring to a boil. Add lime leaves, potato, carrots and conch. Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes.
8. Add Worcestershire sauce, basil and parsley. Season to taste with salt and pepper and simmer for 5 minutes more. Serve with sherry vinegar and a slice of johnny cake.
TIP: For a neat presentation, serve the sherry vinegar in shot glasses as an
accompaniment to the chowder.