Here's another great fish soup recipe to make this cold season and all year round! This fish chowder is the easiest restaurant-style seafood soup you can make at home. It is absolutely delicious!
Today, I want to share one of my favorite fish stew recipes of all time! This easy fish chowder recipe is so full of flavorful nutrients. It's so simple and easy to make. It takes less than an hour to make, from the start to finish!
Easy Fish Chowder
This hearty fish chowder soup delivers a big bowl of comfort but is not too heavy. The broth is so creamy, silky, and rich in flavors. It has a perfect consistency, not too thick and not too thin, very similar to New England chowder. I think you are going to love it!
To make this delicious fish chowder, you will need the following ingredients:
- Meaty firm fish
- Clam Juice
- Unsalted butter
- Bay Leaf
- Heavy cream
- Old Bay Seasoning
- Dry white wine
The Best Fish for Fish Chowder
You can use any meaty and firm type of fish, such as cod, haddock, pollock, Pacific rockfish, grouper, snapper, tilapia, bass, or catfish.
Be sure to stay away from delicate fish, like sole or flounder because the meat tends to fall apart in the soup, or oily fish like tuna.
Best Potatoes for Chowder
This soup is thickened with natural starch from potatoes instead of flour.
Depending on your preference for consistency, you can use either Russet, Yukon, or red potatoes. Just remember that you will be making a fish chowder, and the fish should be the star ingredient instead of the potatoes.
In this recipe, I used red potatoes with skin on. Red potatoes have a nice bright red color, and a firm, and waxy texture. And because they are high in moisture and low in starch, they will hold together better after cooking. Use this type of potatoes if you want to keep the potatoes from getting mushy in soups.
Alternatively, you can use Yukon or russet potatoes.
The all-purpose russet potatoes aren't firm or waxy like red potatoes. They will soak up the liquid and lose their shape in soups because they are high in starch and low in moisture. Use russet potatoes if you want a creamier, thicker, and richer broth.
Yukon Gold potatoes are on the medium-starch side and they will hold their shape better than russet potatoes in soups.
I am a big fan of clam juice and always keep it in stock in my pantry.
Because clams are naturally rich in glutamates, it works great as a flavor enhancer in foods, such as stews and soups. Also, clam juice is the perfect replacement for fish stock in any recipe, from pasta to chowder.
Bacon in Chowder
I use bacon to enhance the flavors of the fish. It also adds a smoky and savory taste to the broth. And for me, a little bacon will make everything tastes better.
In this recipe, you are going to render bacon fat for a few minutes. After that, use the bacon grease to saute the onion and celery then use the crispy crumbled bacon as a topping.
Dry White Wine
Dry white wine can enhance the flavor of a dish and is commonly used to deglaze a pan.
As a general rule, cook only with wine that you'd drink and it doesn't have to be expensive! If you don't have any white wine on hand or simply want to avoid any alcohol, feel free to skip it!
Old Bay Seasoning
This seasoning mix includes celery salt, black pepper, crushed red pepper flakes, and paprika. You can use this seasoning mix to add flavors in many recipes, from seafood chowder/stew to fries.
Can I substitute the heavy cream in the soup? Of course!
You can substitute an equal amount of heavy cream for half-and-half or whole milk with extra butter, coconut milk, or evaporated milk. Heavy creams contain more fat than half-and-half-creams and are also more resistant to curdling. Therefore, heavy cream would make a better choice in soups and sauces.
How to Make Fish Chowder:
The preparation and cooking process is pretty simple. So, here are some important steps to follow:
- Render Bacon Fat. You want to cook the bacon on medium for about 5 minutes. Keep about 2 tablespoons of grease to cook the aromatic vegetables.
- Soup Base: Use bacon grease to cook the chopped onion and celery until softened for about 6 minutes.
- Deglaze the pan: Add white wine and deglaze the pan. Scrape and stir the browned bits from the pan over medium-high heat to dissolve all cooking residues into a liquid to flavor the soup.
- Cook the potatoes and simmer: Add potatoes, clam juice, bay leaf, thyme, and old bay seasoning into the soup. Cook on medium-high heat until the mixture comes to a boil, then lower the heat to medium and cook until the potatoes are almost done (firm on the outside and soft on the inside) for about 10 minutes or longer.
- Add the fish and heavy cream: First, you need to reheat the heavy cream in a microwave. Add fish and the preheated heavy cream into the soup pot. Cook, uncovered, on low heat for about 8-10 minutes.
I hope you'll enjoy this recipe and share it with friends! If you try it and don’t mind, please leave me a comment and/or give this recipe a rating.
- A heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven
- Wooden or silicone spatula
- 3 pounds meaty firm fish or white fish, (cut into 1-inch cubes)
- 2 pounds potatoes, (such as Yukon or red potatoes) - peeled and cut into ¾-inch cubes.
- 3 thick bacon slices
- 3 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 2 cups diced onion
- ¾ cup small diced celery
- ½ cup dry white wine
- 6 small thyme sprigs
- 24 oz clam juice
- 2 cups chicken broth, (low-sodium or regular according to your liking)
- 2½ teaspoon Old Bay seasoning, (I used OLD BAY® Seafood Seasoning by McCormick)
- 2 cups heavy cream , (preheat in the microwave) - add more according to your liking
- black pepper , (to taste)
- Render Bacon Fat: In a heavy-bottom pot or Dutch oven over medium heat, cook bacon for 5 minutes or until crispy and golden brown. Transfer the bacon to a plate and set aside. Keep about 2 tablespoons of bacon grease in the pot.
- Add butter, onion, and celery. Cook and stirring occasionally over medium heat for about 5 minutes or until softened but not browned.
- Deglaze the pan: Add white wine, cook at medium-high heat, stirring to scrape the brown bits from the bottom of the pan, until it has evaporated and reduced in half.
- Add bay leaf, thyme, clam juice, broth, old bay seasoning, and potatoes. Bring to a boil then lower the heat. Cover the pot and cook until potatoes are almost done (firm on the outside but soft on the inside) for about 10 minutes or longer.
- Add the fish fillets and preheated heavy cream into the pot. Cook, uncovered, on low heat for about 8-10 minutes. Adjust seasoning with salt/black pepper if needed.
- Serve and enjoy with crispy bacon bits or allow the soup to chill at room temperature for up to an hour to enhance flavors. The broth will get thickened as it sits. Reheat at low heat just before serving. Do not let it boils.