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Fish Chowder Recipe

A good filling fish soup, with Eastern seaboard American roots, but also now popular with British home-cooks. Chowders usually contain clams or other shellfish. There are regional variations - New England chowder is made from clams, salt pork or bacon and milk; Manhattan chowder employs water instead of milk, but adds tomatoes.

Here we give a simple version, which is still good if the clams are omitted. If served with crusty bread, the soup makes a good lunchtime dish.

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For 4 lunchtime helpings or enough for 6 as a starter:

60g/2 oz Butter
2 medium Onions, peeled and finely-chopped
2 medium or 1 large clove of Garlic, peeled and finely-chopped
1.4 litres/2½ pints Milk
450gr/1 lbs Potatoes, peeled and finely-chopped
1 kilo/2 lbs Firm White Fish Fillets, such as Cod, Haddock, Pollack or Whiting – skinned and cut into bite-size pieces
1 rounded teaspoon of Dried Mixed Herbs or a Bouquet Garni for Fish from
500ml/1 pint fresh, shell-on, Clams (optional, but recommended)
200ml/7 fl oz Dry White Wine (optional, but recommended)
300 ml/ ½ pint Single Cream
½ teaspoon Salt & ½ teaspoon of Freshly-Ground Black Pepper

Equipment needed: a saucepan large enough to hold all the ingredients


1. Gently melt the butter in the saucepan.

2. Add the onion and 'sweat' it until it's transparent - about 3-4 minutes, add the garlic and cook for a further 2 minutes.

3. Add the potato pieces, followed by the fish, herbs and wine and mix together.

4. Add the milk and increase the heat - bringing the mixture to the boil.

5. Add the fish pieces and reduce the heat to maintain a gentle simmer.

6. Cook for 15 minutes, by which time the fish should be cooked and fall into flakes.

7. Add the clams, if using, and season with salt and pepper.

8. Remove from the heat and stir in the cream.


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