Growing up in Connecticut places you right in the center of a chowder war zone: creamy, buttery, New England to the northeast, tomato-and-vegetable heavy Manhattan to the southwest, and the dark horse, brothy Rhode Island Chowder directly east of the Nutmeg State. Sadly, there are more bad versions of each of these than good ones. Thinking of all the things I like and don't like about chowder, I decided to scrap the idea of paying homage to the East Coast, and create something novelly regional : Portland Chowder.
You don't need a slow cooker for this recipe; if you have a heavy, oven-proof pot, you could cook this for hours at 300 (just cook until the grains are cooked but still a bit chewy). Freeze the rinds of every wedge of Parmesan you buy, and you will quickly amass pounds for occasions like this. The vegetables in this recipe are a suggestion, but you could add or subtract nearly anything.