12 April 2011

Back in Boston, It's Called Chowdah!

Home again! And Red Sox baseball season has started off with a whimper and then a bang ... we're watching the games on the tube and making all the traditional foods to celebrate them ... and that means we start off with fish chowder! For me, a fish chowder has one fish only ... the mighty cod. Okay, I'll let you sneak by with a big honkin' filet of monkfish, but that's it! Every time I make fish chowder, I think of that old chestnut about Boston ... heard it?

Raise your soup spoon and toast ...

"And here's to good old Boston, the land of the bean and the cod, where the Lowells talk only to Cabots, and the Cabots talk only to God."

This week's soup is getting the New England treatment with a slight twist ... a purist would have a chowder that's not thickened and contains fish or corn, but not both. I am no purist, believe me. The Cabots and the Lowells would not deign talk to me or eat my chowder! I'm not worried, though! Soooo... this week's soup gets a dose of creamed corn, big chunks of fresh cod and potatoes, a beginning fry up of chopped onions and pancetta, and a hearty broth made from clam broth, milk, evaporated milk (too cheap for cream!), butter, and spices.  By the time the fish and potatoes are simmered to a finish,  the broth has thickened up. All it needs is some salt, black pepper, and plenty of fresh green parsley to bring a pretty color and greeniness to the soup. Killer with some Anadama bread croutons ... or common crackers ... or biscuits.

Enjoy! To my mind, this is New England to the max! A nice hot bowl of chowdah! Now, if only those Sox would get some steam up, too!

Fish Chowder - printer friendly

Susan’s Fish Chowder

2 tbsp. butter
1 large onion, large dice
2 strips pancetta, chopped into small cubes
1 can creamed corn, plus water to rinse out the can
4 medium potatoes, peeled, large dice
1 lb. fresh codfish, cut into 1-inch chunks
8 oz. clam juice
2½ c. whole milk
1 can evaporated milk
1 ½ tsp. kosher salt
¼ tsp. black pepper
¼ tsp. dried thyme
¼ c. fresh parsley, chopped

Making the Chowder:

1. Melt the butter in the bottom of a soup pot and add the pancetta and onion. Fry until the onions and pancetta begin to brown and crisp up.

2. Add the clam juice and stir the bits off the bottom of the pan.

3. Add some of the fish chunks, the creamed corn, and about half a can of water swished around the can to get all the juices.

4. Bring the broth almost to a boil, add the milk and evaporated milk, potatoes, the rest of the fish, salt, pepper, thyme, and half the fresh parsley.

5. Lower the heat and simmer gently until the potatoes are almost softened.

6. Turn off the heat, cover, and leave the soup for an hour so that the flavors meld.

7. Add the rest of the fresh parsley and re-heat. Serve with good crackers, biscuits, cornbread, Anadama bread croutons, or your favorite bread.


  1. Yes, there is nothing like a good chowder! Looks fabulous, Susan!

  2. We love chowder and when we were in your area last fall, we ordered Chowdah every place we went. I even came home with a box of your special crackers we can't find around here. I do love to make chowder and my family are all addicted to it. Have never tried making it with corn; my guys would probably raise a fuss, but I am sure it is real good. Isn't it good to be back home?

  3. I live minutes from Boston Chowder Store/Factory. I usually get a quart or two every other month. Maybe I'll give it a try. Looks delicious. Oh, I am so disgusted with our Red Sox. Daisuke was the biggest mistake since trading Babe Ruth. Sorry, I get excited when I talk baseball.

  4. I adore Clam chowder... and I love your recipe... at least it's from the horses mouth (so to speak) and ever so authentic!... does clam juice come in a can?

  5. @ Rita - I clicked my heels three times and chanted the line when I walked in the back door!
    @ Susan - Between Daisuke and Okey-Dokey, I have gained so many grey hairs! Tito needs to push those guys to the minors and bring in some new and consistent talent! Poor Sox! I'm still in mourning over the retirement of Mikey Lowell ... my hero!
    @ Dom - Clam chowder is okay, but the clams always get tough when you let the soup simmer. As for clam juice, I buy it in a bottle and find it in the aisle with the canned tuna, clams, shrimp, and salmon.

  6. I've never tried fish chowder but I bet my crew would love it. All the kids enjoy fish. Here in Arkansas we are sadly deficient in fresh fish unless you have a pole and a handy lake or stream. One of my dreams is to come to New England and eat all that great food you guys have!

  7. Heading to Boston for a few days next week and chowdah is definitely on the to-do list!

  8. Dear Susan - There is nothing as good as chowdah and yours is divine. I am returning pronto for this as soon as I get through the next 2 weeks of my hellish diet - infact my mom-in-law is visiting end of May and with all fish eatin' that goes on, this will be a hit!!!!


    Devaki @ weavethousandflavors


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