Fish Chowder is such a great easy fish recipe that’s can’t-stop-eating-it good! A thick and hearty creamy white fish soup, I adore this combination of tender potatoes, carrots, sweet corn and peas with big flakes of fish.
A wonderful fish recipe for Easter – or anytime! Just imagine that moment when you dunk in a hunk of warm crusty bread…..
Fish Chowder Soup
This is really just a Fish Soup but I like to call it a “chowder” because the immature child within believes it sounds a heck of a lot more interesting to say “we’re having Fish Chowder for dinner tonight” rather than just “fish soup”.
Who’s with me on this? 😂
Well, whatever we think this should be called, it doesn’t matter! What matters is that it’s utterly delicious, and I think it’s a great easy fish recipe that’s a little different to the usual pan frying or baked fish recipes that can be made with many types of fish.
Best fish for fish chowder
“Meaty” firm types of fish are ideal for fish chowder, such as: Snapper, barramundi, tilapia, basa*, cod, ling, monkfish, marlin, latchet (gurnard), leatherjacket, Spanish mackerel, shark (flake), salmon.
Avoid delicate fish such as whiting, garfish, John Dory, flat fish (flounder, sole) and flathead as they tend to fall apart in soup.
Avoid lean fish like Swordfish, tuna, kingfish, normal mackerel. These tend to be a bit dry unless cooked with care if it’s not the super fatty bit like the belly which is hard to get outside of Japan! So best not used in soup.
* Popular economical fish in Australia, this is actually a type of catfish found in South East Asia.
I’m using Barramundi fillets, a popular fish here in Australia. I like how big and meaty the fillets are – 1 fillet usually weighs around 300 – 400g (10 – 14 oz).
What goes in Fish Chowder
Pretty straight forward list of ingredients (notes below):
Just some notes on a few of the items:
Wine – optional, but it does add that little extra something something to the soup broth. It’s pretty traditional to use white wine in a seafood broth base. Can be skipped.
Vegetables – feel free to switch with vegetables of choice, just add them according to the cook time. Potato and broccoli is great (it basically ends up looking like Potato Broccoli Soup with fish in it), or try Corn Chowder type soup with fish added. Anything goes here!
Best broth for fish chowder – in order of preference:
homemade fish stock – reserved for special occasions around these parts!
high quality store bought fish stock ie not standard supermarket brands like Campbells. Read: pricey!
clam juice – US product, not sold in Australia, hope it comes to our shores!
chicken broth /stock – yes really, try it and be amazed how good it is in this recipe. This is what I use for everyday purposes – and it’s how this recipe is made.
Just to be clear, there is no denying that the best seafood soups are made with homemade seafood broths and any respectable seafood restaurant will use house-made broths. But there’s also no denying that it’s not practical for most people to manhandle giant cauldrons of fish heads on any given night, and that’s the basis on which I give my recommendations!
How to make it
Chowder is a great straightforward recipe – sauté onion and garlic, deglaze the pot with white wine, add flour to make a sludge then basically tip everything else in.
The broth for Fish Chowder is thickened with the flour – no need for cream unless you want to add richness (I do not miss it).
I used to sear the fish first before making the broth, believing that this gave an overall better flavour. But actually, for fish soups, I think it’s best to just plonk the uncooked fish straight into the broth so all the fish juices leech into the soup as it poaches.
If you’ve been around since Easter of last year, you’d be forgiven for thinking the ingredients in this recipe are somewhat familiar. In fact kudos to you for picking it up! Because this Fish Chowder is in fact pretty much my favourite Easter Fish Pie – in soup form. 🙂
Try this soup with Quick Cheesy Garlic Bread…. wait until you SEE it in the video below. Makes my knees weak every single time!! Otherwise, try one of these:
– Nagi x
Watch how to make it
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Fish Chowder Soup
- 40g / 3 tbsp butter , unsalted
- 2 garlic cloves , minced
- 1 small onion , finely chopped
- 2 small carrots , halved, cut into 0.5cm / 1/5″ slices
- 1/2 cup (125ml) dry white wine (can skip)
- 1/4 cup (35g) flour (plain / all purpose)
- 3 cups (750 ml) milk , any fat %
- 2 cups (500 ml) fish stock, clam juice OR chicken stock, preferably low sodium (Note 1)
- 2 cups potato , 1.5 cm/ 0.5″ cubes (~1 large potato)
- 1 cup corn , frozen or canned (drained)
- 0.5 tsp salt , plus more to taste
- Finely ground black pepper
- 600 g/1.2 lb white fish fillets , skinless, cut into 2cm / 4/5″ pieces (Note 2)
- 1 cup peas , frozen
- 1/4 cup green onions , halved and finely sliced (garnish)
- Crusty bread for dunking
- Melt butter in a large pot over medium heat.
- Add garlic and onion, cook for 5 minutes until translucent but not golden.
- Add carrots and stir through.
- Turn heat up to high and add wine. Stir then let it simmer rapidly until it’s mostly evaporated.
- Add flour and stir for 30 seconds – it will become sludgy!
- Slow pour in broth while stirring to dissolve paste, then stir in milk.
- Add potato, corn, salt and pepper. Bring to simmer then turn heat down so it’s simmering gently.
- Cook, stirring every now and then, for 8 minutes or until potato is almost cooked.
- Add fish and peas, simmer for 3 minutes or until fish is just cooked (should flake easily).
- Adjust salt and pepper to taste. If soup is too thick, add a touch of water or milk.
- Serve, garnished with green onions and crusty bread on the side for dunking!
More hearty soups
Life of Dozer
Dozer! I said FISH chowder, not PELICAN chowder!!!