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New England Fish Chowder

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Fish Chowder

Fish Chowder

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This New England-style chowder is chockful with generous chunks of fish, onion, and potato, which gives the soup a rich flavor and a luxurious texture. Serve the chowder with oyster crackers and a dash of hot sauce. Look for clam juice in the canned fish section of large supermarkets — the juice is an easy way to add seafood flavor to soups and stews.

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 35 minutes

Total Time: 50 minutes

Yield: Serves 6 to 8

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter or margarine
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped (1 1/2 cups)
  • 2 large all-purpose potatoes, peeled and diced (2 cups)
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh garlic
  • 6 cups homemade fish stock (see note below), bottled clam juice or low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 cups peeled, shredded carrots
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 2 pounds halibut, thaddock, or cod fillets or steaks (about 1 inch thick), skinned, boned, and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed hot red pepper flakes
  • Chopped fresh chives or scallion tops, for garnish (optional)

Preparation:

1. In a 4-quart pot, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for 5 minutes, stirring often, until softened.

2. Stir in the potatoes and garlic. Reduce the heat to low. Cover and simmer for about 8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the potatoes are just tender.

3. Add the fish stock, clam juice or broth and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Stir in the carrots. Reduce the heat to low. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes.

4. Gradually stir in the milk and cream, then the fish. Return the soup to a simmer and cook uncovered for 10 minutes, or until the fish is barely opaque in center.

5. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the cheese, salt, black pepper, and red pepper flakes.

6. Ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with chives or scallion tops. Serve right away.

Recipe Notes

• Making homemade fish stock is quicker and simpler than you might think. All you will need is about 2 or 3 pounds of trimmings, bones, and heads from a non-oily fish, if you can get them. Put the trimmings into a large pot and cover with water. Add a peeled, quartered large onion, a sliced carrot, sliced rib of celery, a bay leaf, a handful of peppercorns, and about a tablespoon of sea salt. Bring the mixture to a boil, skimming off any foam that rises to the surface,and simmer uncovered, for about 30 minutes. Strain the stock through a fine sieve, and discard the solids — and that's all there is to it. Use the stock for soups, stews, chowders, and sauces.
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