Seafood Chowder: The Perfect Dish for Holiday Guests

Times Staff Writer

DEAR SOS: I had occasion to have the fish chowder at Charley Brown’s in Redondo Beach and it was delicious. Can you obtain the recipe for me?


DEAR LUCILLE: With chowder season coming up we’re glad Charley Brown shared the recipe. Chowder makes great party food for a holiday open house, TV-viewing parties and the like. You can add sandwiches or a nice, big chopped salad and plenty of crisp sourdough bread or crackers to go with it for an easy-to-handle party meal. Double the recipe if necessary.




3/4 cup chopped celery

3/4 cup chopped onion

2 tablespoons butter


1 tablespoon flour

4 (6 1/2-ounce) cans chopped clams

1 potato, peeled and cubed

1/3 cup half and half

1/3 cup whipping cream

3/4 teaspoon dried thyme

White pepper

1 tablespoon clam base, optional


3/4 pound cod fillets, cubed

3/4 cup bay shrimp

Saute celery and onion in butter until translucent. Stir in flour until smooth. Cook, stirring, 5 minutes or until golden.

Drain clam juice into flour mixture, stirring until smooth. Cook until slightly thickened. Add potato and simmer about 15 minutes or until tender.

Add half and half, whipping cream, thyme, white pepper to taste, clam base, fish fillets and shrimp. Bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer 2 to 3 minutes or until fish is tender. Makes 6 cups.

DEAR SOS: A friend served me some beef back ribs that were wonderful and said she clipped the recipe from your column. The ribs had been in the freezer for several weeks, but they were the best I ever tasted. They were smeared with mustard and rolled in bread crumbs and baked after cooking. Would you please reprint the recipe?


DEAR SHIRLEY: With pleasure. This recipe is from the Waldorf Astoria in New York City, where the ribs have been a standby for decades. It’s one of our favorite recipes too.



8 pounds beef ribs (from prime rib of beef), about 2 racks

Salt, pepper

1/4 cup virgin olive oil, about

1 cup Dijon mustard

2 1/2 cups plain bread crumbs

10 ounces veal or beef stock

1/2 cup Madeira

1/2 teaspoon cornstarch

1/2 teaspoon water

2 tablespoons butter

Lightly season bones with salt and pepper. Place bones on baking sheet and roast at 325 degrees 1 1/2 hours. After bones have cooked, allow to cool until easy to handle, about 15 minutes.

Combine 3 tablespoons olive oil and all but 3 tablespoons mustard, blending well. Separate bones into rib sections and lightly coat with mustard mixture. Dredge each piece in bread crumbs and place on baking sheet. Sprinkle bones lightly with more olive oil. Bake at 375 degrees until golden brown.

Combine stock and Madeira. Reduce by half. Combine cornstarch with water until smooth. Stir into sauce and cook until sauce coats back of spoon. Continue to simmer over low heat several minutes to blend flavors. Add butter and 3 tablespoons reserved mustard. Stir until smooth. Makes 6 to 8 servings.

DEAR SOS: I have been searching for a recipe for Bread and Butter Pickles like the commercial variety sold. Can you help?


DEAR MRS. N.M.: Yes, we can. You can prepare them now, keeping them in mind for gift giving during the Christmas season. They’re wonderful with frankfurters, burgers, steaks and chops.


12 medium cucumbers

6 medium onions


3 cups cider vinegar

2 cups sugar

1 teaspoon celery seeds

1 teaspoon mustard seeds

1 teaspoon turmeric

Slice cucumbers and onions and soak overnight in solution of 1 cup salt and 4 cups water. In morning, drain and discard liquid.

Combine cider vinegar, sugar, 1 cup water, 1 teaspoon salt, celery seeds, mustard seeds and turmeric. Bring to boil and boil 5 minutes. Pack vegetables in 1 1/2-pint jars, pour boiling syrup to top of vegetables, leaving 1/4-inch head space, and seal. Process 10 minutes in boiling water bath. Makes about 2 quarts.

DEAR SOS: I was at a function where I was served a chocolate dessert called chocolate damnation. I’d love the recipe if you have it.


DEAR CAROL: There are numerous versions of this sinfully rich chocolate dessert and our recipe, from a contest winner when Le Dome restaurant in Hollywood held a benefit cooking contest in 1979, is but one. See if it comes close. If not, we have a few more equally lethal ones.


3/4 pound semisweet chocolate squares or pieces

1/4 cup strong coffee

2 eggs, separated

1/4 cup coffee-flavored liqueur

3 tablespoons sugar

1/4 cup whipping cream

Brownie Shell

Chocolate Glaze

Chocolate curls, optional

Melt chocolate and coffee in top of double boiler. Remove from heat. Beat egg yolks until pale yellow in color and stir in some of chocolate mixture. Return to chocolate in pan, stirring until smooth. Gradually stir in liqueur and cool.

Beat egg whites until foamy. Gradually add sugar and beat until stiff. Whip cream until stiff. Fold cream into cooled chocolate mixture, then fold in egg whites.

Line bottom and sides of buttered 1 1/2-quart straight-sided mold with Brownie Shell, cutting strips for sides and round for bottom of mold. Turn filling into cake-lined mold and cover with plastic wrap. Chill 3 to 4 hours, or until firm.

Invert onto serving platter. Glaze with Chocolate Glaze. Let firm and decorate with chocolate curls. Cut into very thin slices to serve, as dessert is very rich. Makes 20 to 30 servings.

Brownie Shell

2/3 cup butter

4 squares unsweetened chocolate

2 cups sugar

4 eggs, well beaten

1 1/2 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon vanilla

Melt butter with chocolate in saucepan over low heat. Remove from heat and add sugar and eggs. Combine flour, baking powder and salt and beat into chocolate mixture. Add vanilla.

Line greased jellyroll pan with wax paper. Pour in batter, spread evenly. Bake at 350 degrees 12 to 15 minutes or until cake springs bake when lightly touched. Cake should be soft, not crisp. Turn out on rack and cool. Invert on towel and peel off paper.

Chocolate Glaze

4 square semisweet chocolate

3 tablespoons strong coffee

Place chocolate and coffee in top of double boiler and melt over hot water.