Make Chowder Your Choice for the Holidays

Seafood Chowder

What could be more Nova Scotian?

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.

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4 Responses to “Make Chowder Your Choice for the Holidays”

  1. Dawn Says:
    December 15th, 2011 at 12:13 am

    Hello feisty Renee,

    Just catching up on my blog reading and came across your chowder recipe. I made some fishcakes from a Gordon Ramsey cookbook last week and it also called for smoked haddock and fresh salmon. I ended up using fresh haddock and smoked salmon because I didn’t know where to find smoked haddock.

    So, that’s my question. Where does one find smoked haddock?

    The fishcakes were still mucho yummy!

  2. Renee Says:
    December 21st, 2011 at 11:33 am

    Thanks Dawn. You can sometimes find smoked haddock at the grocery store, but using any smoked fish or shellfish works great too!

  3. Colleen Says:
    December 22nd, 2011 at 3:50 pm

    Hey Dawn,
    I saw smoked haddock (previously frozen however) last week in the lower sackville superstore. I planning on making this for my in-laws on xmas eve. Wish me luck.

  4. Colleen Says:
    December 29th, 2011 at 2:04 pm

    The chowed was excellent. It was very easy to make and impressed my father in law. I made it the night before and simply had to reheat it on xmas eve. My mother in law was worried that it might to be to rich for her 89 year old father but because I used the 2% milk and not cream it was perfect.
    Adding this one to my collection.

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