This chowder takes less than 30 minutes to prepare, however, you may want to take a little longer and make your own homemade fish stock. Next time you clean a mess of fish, preferably light-fleshed white fish, thoroughly rinse off the heads and skeleton and toss them into a large pot. Chop up an onion, some celery, carrot, garlic, bay leaves and any herbs you may have handy and add them to the pot on top of the fish parts. Add a cup or two of dry white wine and then cover the stuff in the pot with cold water. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 30 – 45 minutes, skimming any foam as you go. Pour the liquid through a strainer lined with cheesecloth and you have a great tasting fish stock. You can freeze the fish stock and use for soups, stews, chowders and sauces. If you’re not up to the task of making your own stock, use fish bouillon (Knorr makes a decent one), clam juice or chicken broth.
You can also dice up some bacon, leaving the grease and the browned diced bacon in the stockpot, to replace the butter. Just don’t blame me if you can’t fit into your waders.
Fast Fish Chowder
- 1 cup potato peeled and diced into 1/4 inch cubes
- 1/2 cup carrot peeled and diced into 1/4 inch cubes
- 1/2 cup celery diced into 1/4 inch cubes
- 3 garlic cloves minced
- 1/2 cup onion peeled and diced into 1/4 inch cubes
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 1 quart cold fish stock clam juice or chicken broth
- 2 cups heavy cream half and half or milk
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch mixed with equal part cold water
- 2 cups fish fillets cut into 2 inch pieces (you can also add shrimp, scallops, etc.)
- *** salt and freshly ground pepper
- 2 tablespoons fresh parsley minced
- Heat butter in a stock pot over medium heat and add potato, carrot, celery, garlic and onion. Cook for 5 minutes or until onions are translucent, but not brown.
- Sprinkle flour over vegetables and stir. Continue cooking for another 5 minutes, stirring often.
- Stir in fish stock, a little at a time and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
- Add cream and bring to a boil again. Simmer for 5 minutes more. If thickness is to your liking, do not use the cornstarch mixture. If you would like the chowder a little thicker, add some of the cornstarch mixture, a little at a time, until you reach your desired thickness. If you are using heavy cream, you shouldn’t need much, if any. If you are using milk, especially skim milk, you may want to thicken it up a bit.
- Once you have the thickness of the chowder under control, add the fish. Cook for just a few minutes, stirring only gently a time or two. Add salt and pepper as desired.
- To serve, ladle chowder into bowls and garnish with chopped parsley.