This recipe was generously shared with me by Jan Knowles Myers, formerly of Key West, Florida. This history and recipe were in my second cookbook called I’ll Have What They’re Having.
Jan says, “My hometown is Key West, and I am a 4th generation Key West native or “conch” and a 5th generation Florida native. Back when I was young, Key West was a quaint little fishing village with no where near the level of tourism that currently exists. I truly loved my childhood and growing up in Key West. This chowder recipe was my father’s. He was George Irving Knowles, Jr. (1915-1984), a 3rd generation Key West native. Much of my family came to Key West from the Bahamas, arriving as early as the 1840s, although my French great-great-great-grandfather, Odet Philippe, had traveled to the city in the 1820s.”
In a large, heavy pot over medium-high heat, add onions, garlic, bell pepper, and tomatoes; cook until vegetables are soft.
Reduce heat to low; add ground conch meat, potatoes, and enough water to make it soupy but not watery. Let simmer 1 hour. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Remove from heat and serve in individual soup bowls.
Makes 6 to 8 servings.
* To easily prepare the tomatoes, use a sharp knife and cut the tomatoes while still in the can.
** Because conch meat is very tough, you must grind it using a meat grinder or food processor. Conch meat can be extremely tough, even if you dice it very small, so it needs to go through the medium-fine plate of a grinder. Also cut away any orange flaplike meat if that has not already been removed. Conch meat can usually be found in the frozen food section of your store.
Conch Chowder Recipe: https://whatscookingamerica.net/history/chowder/conchchowder.htm