Easy Fish Chowder
As former New Englanders, we take chowder pretty seriously. I know I’m not a true New Englander because I grew up in Western PA. But I did eat enough of it in the 11 years I lived up north to know what I like in a chowder. My husband’s standards for clam chowder are pretty high, so I needed to start with a soup that I felt could satisfy our chowder cravings as new Southerners without being compared to the famous Legal Seafood Clam Chowder. And dare I say it, this Easy Fish Chowder met and even exceeded my husband’s chowder expectations.
Now, Granny does have a recipe for fish chowder, but I wanted to make it a little more exciting. I used elements from that recipe but added a few of my own flourishes. The recipe calls for halibut which can be a pretty expensive fish, but you can certainly substitute cod or other white fish. I have made this before with crispy fried shallots — which was delicious — but unnecessarily complicated. I think topping the soup with bacon is every bit as good and far easier.
I can’t turn on the news without hearing about this upcoming Polar Vortex (a big reason we moved down South). I can’t think of a better way to warm up than with a piping hot bowl of Easy Fish Chowder. So scoot on out to your grocery store and pick up these ingredients. And do so before the temps drop to 20 below zero. While you’re doing that, I may just try my hand at some Clam Chowder now that I have all of this new chowder confidence. *Googles how to trademark the phrase ‘chowder confidence*
Easy Fish Chowder is a very simple recipe for a soup that tastes anything but simple. This chowder is even better the next day!
- 4 Strips Bacon
- 1 onion, diced
- 1 c mushrooms, chopped
- 2 c water
- 2 c potatoes
- 1 lb *halibut, cut into 1 inch pieces
- 1/2 lb uncooked shrimp, cut into small pieces
- 1/2 t salt
- 1/8 t pepper
- 2 T butter
- 1 can cream of potato soup
- 1 T flour
- 3 c milk
- old bay seasoning, to taste
Chop bacon and cook in a dutch oven until crispy. Once the bacon is cooked, place on a paper towel lined plate. Dump the excess bacon grease from the pan but don’t wipe it out.
Cook the onion and mushrooms in the residual bacon grease for about 5 minutes until the mushrooms begin to brown and the onions are translucent. Add the water and potatoes. Season with salt and pepper. Once boiling, reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
Add the fish, shrimp and cream of potato soup and stir to combine. Simmer for an additional 10 minutes. Meanwhile, in a separate, medium sauce pan melt the butter. Once the butter begins to bubble, whisk in the flour for about 30 seconds to 1 minute. Slowly whisk in the milk and simmer until slightly thickened. This is meant to be a fairly thin white sauce.
Slowly add the white sauce to the chowder. Distribute between bowls and sprinkle Old Bay and the bacon on top. Serve with oyster crackers.
*You can easily substitute cod or another white fish for halibut. However, if you do substitute, I recommend adding the fish about 5 minutes later in the cooking process, as halibut is thicker and requires slightly more cooking time.