New England Fish Chowder
Posted on 20th December 2021 at 11:37
When you think of a fish chowder, your mind likely goes to the wonderfully creamy chowders of New England. The creamy style seafood chowder likely originated from similar dishes made by Scottish settlers in the 1700s.
The dish was updated and amended to work with the local seafood that was easy to find in the region such as clams and lobster. For our New England fish chowder, we are going to use the same principle and use seafood that is sustainable, locally sourced and in season.
Fish chowder is a wonderful winter seafood dish; warming, easy to make and packed full of all your favourite seasonal fish. And because the dish uses local and seasonal ingredients it can be a fairly cost-effective fish supper as well, perfect for a lazy Saturday or a mid-week treat.
1 large onion
100g streaky bacon
600ml of fish stock
1 tbsp of flour
200g of new potatoes
100ml of single cream
Sprigs of thyme
Bunch of parsley
4 bay leaves
Crusty bread – bonus points if you bake it yourself.
You can use almost any combination of fish and seafood for this dish but for this example we have used the following species.
The key is to use a total quantity of around 350g of fish and 250g of shellfish.
Getting your chowder base going
Dice your onion as small as possible, and cut your bacon into thin slices of lardon.
Heat oil in a large saucepan on a medium heat. Add the diced onion and the chopped bacon. Cook gently until the onion becomes soft and just starting to brown and the bacon is cooked.
Add the flour and cook for a couple more mins to cook out the flour and combine the onion, flour and bacon.
Add the fish stock, pouring in gradually and bring to a gentle simmer. Add the lobster shells (reserving the meat) and the conger eel and then simmer for 5–10 minutes to get the flavour out of the lobster shells.
Strain the mix, remove the conger eel and set aside, and return the liquid to the pan. Once the liquid is simmering again add the potatoes and cover, then simmer for 10 minutes or until the potatoes are cooked through. Remove the flesh of the conger eel from the bones and set the meat aside.
Adding your seafood to the fish chowder
Add the milk and herbs including thyme, bay and parsley, to the pan. At this stage also taste the liquid and season with pepper as needed. Do not add salt yet as the fish will add some saltiness.
Add the rest of the fish to the chowder and cook for 3–4 mins.
Add the lobster meat and the whelks, then cook for a further 2–3 mins.
Finally add the conger eel meat and cream then simmer for 1 more minute and season as needed. Remove the thyme sprigs and the bay leaves
Serve with warm crusty bread.
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