Friday, September 21, 2007

Fish Chowder

Two summers ago, on a foggy cool August afternoon, I had a bowl of heaven. A fish chowder so delicious that I wanted to grab the pot from the stove and hide it in a secret place so that every bit of it would be mine (I didn't, but it was so very tempting).

I asked for the recipe. Bad idea. Turns out, it's a secret family recipe and no one, but no one outside the family gets the goods (imagine a Portuguese Colonel Sanders and you'll get the drift).

So for almost two years, I've been googling fish chowder recipes, checking every cookbook that I own or can get my hands on, ordering fish chowder at any restaurant serving it, and experimenting with recipes. Nothing is ever as good. I started to think that it must have been a flawed memory.... my hunger and the cold tricked me into thinking the stuff was better than it was. It's just a bunch of potatoes and haddock in some milk, right?

Finally last week, I found a recipe over at Diana's Kitchen. (Thank you Diana!)
I added extra thyme, more pepper a bit more bay leaf, wine instead of water and poof. Heaven in a bowl.

Hearty Fish Chowder

  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 2 medium carrots, cut in small dice
  • 1 rib celery, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 1 pound frozen haddock fillets
  • 2 medium potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 1 bay leaf (I added an extra half leaf)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried leaf thyme crumbled (I used quite a bit more)
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper (way, way more pepper)
  • 1 cup dry white wine or water
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley or 1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes

In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt 1 tablespoon butter; add onions, carrots and celery, stirring and cooking until onion is tender. Add fish, potatoes, bay leaf, salt, thyme, pepper, and wine or water. Cover and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, until fish is cooked. Break fish into chunks. Add milk and remaining 1 tablespoon butter; heat through. Discard bay leaf, sprinkle with parsley and serve.
Fish chowder recipe serves 4.

24 comments:

Anonymous said...

I traveled around Ireland one winter week and wasn't thrilled with their food, but was thrilled with all the different versions of fish chowder each village had to offer.
We ended up calling our trip to Ireland our "Fish Chowder Tour."

It's a joy when you stumble on a good recipe.. Kudo's to you for finding a good recipe.

Bon Appetit!

zacariah said...

i also, traveled to ireland. i found most of the food bland but in doolin, a small village on the west coast, i had the most amazing seafood chowder. perhaps we in maine are so lucky to have great chowder because so many come from ireland? hmmm...

Anonymous said...

I tried your chowder. Love it! I will make it every week this coming winter. Thank you for the best fish chowder I have ever tried...
I grew up in NH, now live in South Carolina, sorry, they have no idea what good fish chowder is all about...
Marcia

Anonymous said...

I tried your chowder. Love it! I will make it every week this coming winter. Thank you for the best fish chowder I have ever tried...
I grew up in NH, now live in South Carolina, sorry, they have no idea what good fish chowder is all about...
Marcia

Anonymous said...

Hi
I have been experimenting with every recipe I culd find, and I have just found yours....will try it tomorrow with a ton of striper caught fresh. I am curious about the carrots though, not much of a carrot fan. What if I leave them out hmmm. I will let you know..mant thanks
...Bob from Amherst NH

Allgaul said...

So today is fish chowder day and I am making your recipe with a few additions! I put in some scallops, used Cod because I couldn't get haddock fresh or frozen, and also added some clams and some garlic. Used those little Yukon gold potatoes. Used one can of evaporated milk for a bit more creamy-ness and used whole milk for the rest. Used half water and half wine. It tastes divine! So yum! Uh, I guess I made a lot of changes, but the spirit is the same!
Thanks for posting this!

Anonymous said...

Fish,freshly caught and simply prepared is one the great culinary gifts. I too have been looking for the best chowder (in my opinion, the chowder from 'Jim Edwards' restaurant in Kinsale, Co Cork is the best ever!)and will try out your recipe, although I will fiddle around with it for my palate! By the way Irish food is not bland, maybe the cooks who prepared it are!

Happy eating!

Anonymous said...

I look foreward to trying your Hearty Fish Chowder. It looks like a Winner. Thankyou!

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for posting this recipe! Hold on to your hats - I used catfish nuggets (tail sections) sold in the grocery store (very inexpensive). Nummy!
I'm looking forward to the next batch. Over two days I ate it all myself! Thanks again.

Erina said...

This recipe is my favorite, favorite, favorite fish chowder recipe of all time. It's always better the next day too, making it a perfect 'make-ahead meal' for entertaining. http://wp.me/puWta-K

viagra online said...

I am curious about the carrots though, not much of a carrot fan. But if you cook them with a fish, look so appetizing.

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jessiev said...

HOW inspiring!! we've got a rainy day while we're visiting ireland (lol, surprise) and some fresh hake - your recipe was WONDERFUL - thanks for the inspiration!

http://www.wanderingeducators.com/best/traveling/because-sometimes-youve-just-got-make-fish-chowder.html

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Anonymous said...

i stumbled upon your recipe and it sounded like this was a recipe for the discerning homecook connoisseur...three days later ive made it twice; cant get enough of it!!! thank you for the recipe and for your blog which prompted me to try it!

for someone above who posted about carrots: http://culinaryarts.about.com/od/seasoningflavoring/p/mirepoix.htm

i used some of my dad`s fish stock in addition to the wine, and also added some cream with the milk. the butter at the end made it amazing!! the second time i added other seafood with the milk, and it came out a beautiful seafood chowder.

anyway, my bowl is empty...gotta go...

Andrew Mooers said...

Thanks for the recipe. Maine food, lots of unique flavors, styles of preparing something you will leave the table not hungry sampling, enjoying.

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