Chow-dah. If you have fish stock on hand, you’re in luck: this New England fish chowder goes together quickly and without fuss. If you don’t already have the stock, the process is a bit longer, but don’t let it stop you! Follow the link for fish stock and reduce the quantities by one-half, and you’ll have just what you need for this fabulous recipe.
What a comforting, luscious, dead-simple meal: fish chowder and a few crackers. Really, it’s all you need on a cold snowy day.
New England Fish Chowder
- 2 slices lean bacon, cut in small pieces
- 1 Tbsp unsalted butter
- 1 medium onion, cut in half-inch dice
- 3-4 sprigs fresh thyme
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 lb potatoes, peeled and chopped in half-inch dice (Yukon Gold preferred)
- 2-3 cups strong fish stock
- salt and freshlyl ground black pepper
- 1½ lb skinless fish fillets (non-oily fish: haddock, cod, pollock, cusk)
- 1 cup heavy cream
- Heat a 4-quart heavy pot over low heat, and add the bacon and butter. Cook the bacon slowly so that some of the fat renders, then increase heat and cook bacon until brown and crispy. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon, leaving the fat in the pot. Reserve the bacon until later.
- Add onions, thyme, and bay leaves to the pot and cook, stirring occasionally, for 6-8 minutes, until the onions are softened and tender but not browned. Add the potatoes and stock – the stock should come right up to the top of the potatoes. If it doesn’t, add a bit of water so that they are just covered.
- Turn up the heat and bring to a boil. Cook the potatoes about 10 minutes, until they are just cooked through. If the stock hasn’t thickened slightly, smash a few of the potato chunks against the side of the pot and cook a minute or two longer to release their starch.
- Reduce heat to low, and season assertively with salt and pepper. Go heavy on the seasonings now, because you won’t want to stir much once the fish goes in.
- Lay the fish fillets on top of the potatoes, cover, and cook over low heat for 10 minutes, then remove the pot from the heat and let stand, covered, 10 minutes more, so that the fish cooks through completely.
- Gently stir in the cream and taste. Adjust seasonings, garnish with the reserved bacon bits, and serve promptly.