Freestyle Chowder Base


Tomorrow, we are welcoming our first visit from family since moving west. Traditionally, whenever family crossed the Strait from Newfoundland to our house in Nova Scotia, we’d have a pot of seafood chowder waiting.
Asking what our company might like for supper, and the response was chowder. And so the tradition continues!
Of course, the chowder won’t be exactly the same–the East coast version was made with, well, East coast fish and shellfish. For this one, I went foraging for West coast seafood and found smoked Coho, Pacific halibut, shrimp, and Dungeness crab.
No need to change up the rest of the recipe though, this is a chowder base that I’ve used for a long time, and lends itself well to the addition of just about any combination that the cook might enjoy. No worrying about not being able to find a particular fish, just substitute what’s on hand, or in season.
This was printed in my Chowders and Soups book, and it’s the first time I’ve shared it outside the book.

Freeform Seafood Chowder Base
For the more adventurous cook

This is the chowder recipe base I most often use. It doesn’t rely on measuring, and I’ve yet to find a sea creature that didn’t taste delicious in it! It’s not a thick chowder, but the coffee cream adds a velvety texture.

Potato, diced (peels may be off or on)
Celery, diced
Onion, diced
(3 parts potato to 1 part celery, 1 part onion)
(the size of the dice is not as important as the consistency—all of the vegetables should be cut to the same size so that they cook evenly)
Fish Stock
Coffee cream
(use 2 parts stock to 1 part coffee cream)
Fresh herbs (usually basil and thyme)

In a heavy bottomed pot over low heat, melt butter. Add vegetables and gently cook
until soft, stirring occasionally.
Add whatever fish or shellfish you are using, and continue stirring until fish is cooked. Add fish stock and coffee cream. Stir until heated, do not boil, (coffee cream may curdle) add salt, pepper and fresh herbs to taste.

NaNoWriMo Update: I’ve fallen behind on my word count, so I don’t think I’m going to make the deadline. But, I’m going to keep going with the hopes of finishing by Christmas. Silvern Voices will be heard!


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