By CHEF JEAN DOHERTY
Chowder refers to a wide variety of thickened stews, often milk- or cream-based, made with seafood and vegetables. The most well-known are New England clam chowder, which is made with clams and cream or milk, and Manhattan clam chowder, which substitutes tomatoes for the milk/cream. Other common variations include corn chowder, fish chowder, and potato chowder.
The word “chowder” comes from the French name for the cooking pot in which it is made: Chaudière (which is also the basis for the word “cauldron”). “Chowda” (as they say in New England) came from Newfoundland, where the fishermen (Bretons from French Brittany) would throw portions of the day’s catch and other available foods into a large pot. These fishermen may have introduced the word (and perhaps the fish soup itself, probably bouillabaisse). Another possible origin for the word is derived from the Old English “jowter,” which means fishmonger.
This is my version, but as always you are the chef so feel free to add to it, or spice it up as you wish.
• 2 medium onions, chopped
• 2 or 3 diced peeled potatoes
• 4 cups of water
• 1 glass of white wine
• 1 cup of fish bouillon
• ½ cup of flour
• 1 lb of bay or sea scallops, quartered
• 1 lb of crab or mussels or baby squid (what the heck: throw ’em all in)
• 1 lb of uncooked medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
• 1 lb of cod or tilapia, cut into pieces
• ½ cup of butter, melted
• Fresh thyme
• ½ pint of milk
• ½ pint of cream
In the microwave, pre-cook the diced potatoes in a bowl, using a little water. In a large saucepan or stockpot, sauté the onions in butter until tender. Sprinkle with the flour and whisk, while adding the wine, and then add water, fish bouillon, milk, and cream. Add the spuds, and bring to a boil.
Add the scallops, shrimp, and all the other seafood you want to use. Cook for 10 minutes or until the scallops are opaque, the shrimp turn pink, and the fish flakes off easily with a fork. Add salt and thyme, and garnish with parsley and crushed pepper.