There are so many 'authentic' New England chowder recipes, but to us Maineiacs the essentials of a really nice fish chowder seldom change.. a bit of onion, celery, potatoes, salt pork, fish stock, milk with a dab of butter, a bit of cream and fresh parsley to finish it off. You shouldn't be able to stand a spoon up in a traditional fish chowder, as any New England cook will attest. No flour, constarch, agar need be added. The thickener in this chowder comes from the cream and potato starch, leaving you with a broth that is slightly thicker than milk, and one that captures the delicious fresh fish flavor than overwhelm it with a flour based thickener
Most Mainers are pretty partial to haddock and I'd have to agree. It's well suited to fish chowder with it's wonderful flavor and perfect texture that breaks up nicely into larger chunks in the soup. I will oftentimes use a mix of white fish of cod, cusp, scrod or even flounder to my haddock base.
Chowders also improve with a bit of a rest. I like to make my chowder early in the day, cover and gently rewarmed just before serving. It's a great dish, made with few ingredients and generally served with common soda crackers, oyster crackers or a nice crusty bread. Enjoy!
1 1/2 lb fresh haddock
1/2 lb total.. cod,scrod,cusp or flounder
1/4 cup cubed salt pork or 5 slices bacon, roughly cut
1 small onion, diced
2 celery stalks diced
6 medium potatoes, cubed
1/2 cup clam juice or fish stock
2 cups whole milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 pads butter
sea salt, ground pepper to taste
1 TBLS fresh parsley
In a stockpot over medium heat cook the salt pork or bacon until lightly browned. Add onion, celery and cook until the celery is just barely soft. Add potatoes, clam juice or fish stock and enough water to cover potatoes by 2 inches. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer, cooking for 20 minutes or until potatoes are fork tender. Allow to cool for 5 minutes and at very light simmer add the milk and cream.. stir well.. then place your cut up haddock, fish filets gently on top, Cover pot and simmer for 15 minutes or until fish is opaque and flakes easily. Add sea salt, ground pepper and two pads of butter. Stir up pot once and allow chowder to rest before serving.