New England Fish Chowder

It’s been one of those days where I can’t seem to warm up! And what is the best remedy for getting warm on a chilly day? Soup!

I love Maine. Whenever my family would visit Maine, I would beg for chowder. Or as Mainards say, “chowdah!” Chowder is the epitome of New England.

Although the classic version of chowder is clam chowder, I equally love Fish Chowder. It’s an especially great option when I go to my local grocery store and clams aren’t available or fresh. Flaky, tender chunks of cod perfectly compliment a classic chowder base.

One of my chowder pet peeves, though, is a heavy, floury base (an uber-creamy base occurs from adding too much flour). To me, there’s nothing worse than a pasty chowder base that overwhelms the mild flavor and texture of seafood!

My Fish Chowder incorporates a light, peppery base with smoky bacon, generous chunks of potato, and celery for brightness.

Warning: you may have extreme urges to soak up every last drop with a flaky croissant or crusty piece of sourdough bread.

 

The Ingredients

2 lbs. cod loins, cut into 2 inch pieces

½ lb. Applewood smoked bacon, cut into ½ inch sections

5 celery hearts, finely chopped with leaves

Large Spanish onion, diced

2 garlic cloves, minced

5 tablespoons butter

3 large Russet potatoes, peeled and diced into ½ inch cubes

3 bottles clam juice (I love the brand, Bar Harbor)

1 cup heavy cream

3 bay leaves

1-2 tablespoons pepper, depending on preference

Parsley to garnish

 

The Steps

Render bacon in a large pot until browned. Reserve bacon and drain fat.

In a large pot, sweat onion and garlic in bacon drippings with 3 tablespoons butter. Add bay leaves, clam juice, and cubed potatoes. Cover and boil until potatoes are tender, about 15-20 minutes.

Add 1 cup heavy cream, reserved bacon, cod loins, and chopped celery hearts. Add pepper, stir, and simmer (covered) until cod is opaque, about an hour.

Serve in bowl, garnish with butter and parsley.

Tip: Cod is delicate so it doesn’t reheat as well as clams! I’d use clams if you are planning on freezing the soup to eat later!

 

The Steps with Pictures

Render bacon in a large pot until browned. Reserve bacon and drain fat.

In a large pot, sweat onion and garlic in bacon drippings with 3 tablespoons butter. Add bay leaves, clam juice, and cubed potatoes. Cover and boil until potatoes are tender, about 15-20 minutes.

Add 1 cup heavy cream, reserved bacon, cod loins, and chopped celery hearts. Add pepper, stir, and cover until code is opaque, about an hour.

Serve in bowl, garnish with butter and parsley.

Tip: Cod is delicate so it doesn’t reheat as well as clams! I’d use clams if you are planning on freezing the soup to eat later!

 

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