What is the most beloved soup in Nova Scotia? The answer is easy. Chowder. Be it lobster or clam or fish or seafood, chowder is warm, comforting and soothing. What could be better during this holiday season.
Chowder; it comes in many forms. Perhaps it is all clams or a mix of white fish. There may be a few shrimp lurking in the bowl or even an oyster. It can be cream based, tomato based or even a broth, but anyway you like to eat or cook it, this soup is a staple on most menus in restaurants and home kitchens in the province.
I am a very anal person when it comes to making my chowder. I have several rules that I apply, and I know that many people will disagree with me, but hey, that’s just how I like it.
Rule #1 of the Lavallée Chowder: No “pink” fish. So Mr. Salmon, you and your friends Char and Trout will have to find another bowl to play in.
Rule #2 of the Lavallée Chowder: No cream. Listen, just cause I weigh 105lbs doesn’t mean I can wave around a carton of 35% cream an use it liberally in my cooking; it’s gotta be 2% milk for this lil’ lady.
Rule #3 of the Lavallée Chowder: Carrots belong in a stew, not in my velvety white chowder. I do not want these orange floaties discoloring my soup.
So, how many disagree? Probably quite a few, but how many of you will try my recipe and perhaps change your minds? Hopefully more. Mine is a mix of clams, smoked fish, smoked oysters and haddock. Sometimes when I am feeling crazy, I’ll even put in a few cold water shrimp!
This holiday season, try impressing your guests with a chowder. Duper MacDonald, this one is for you! Enjoy.
The Chowder of Chowders
Serves 6 adults
- 8 slices of bacon; roughly chopped
- 1 onion; chopped
- 1 leek; chopped
- 3 ribs of celery; chopped
- 3 potatoes; washed and chopped (I keep the skin on)
- 1C (250ml) corn(fresh or frozen)
- 3C (750ml) chicken stock
- 1C (250ml) white wine
- 2 C (500ml) 2% milk
- 1 can clams (add the juice too!)
- 3 tins smoked oysters
- 1lb (450g) haddock (or any fish you like)
- 200g smoked halibut or haddock
- 1C (250ml) cold water shrimp
- 1tbsp (15ml) chopped tarragon
- salt and pepper
In a large pot, cook off the bacon with a little oil and add the onion, leek, celery and potato. Sweat for 5 minutes. Deglaze with the white wine and cook another 2 minutes. Add the chicken stock and the liquid from the clams and cook for 1/2 hour until the vegetables are soft. Add in the smoked fish (cut up) and the white fish. Cook for another 10 minutes and then add the remaining ingredients and heat through. Season with salt and pepper and garnish with fresh dill.