New England Fish Chowder

I just love chowder, and every visit to Boston and New England just intensifies my delight.

It seems that it's served in every restaurant in Boston - and in most of New England too.  Boston clam chowder is even developing into a street food! While clam chowder is a famous Boston staple, and justifiably so, I personally prefer plain fish chowder.

Overcooked clams are rubbery and tasteless, and I love the way the fish gets soft and falls apart in the soup.

fish chowderFish Chowder

You'll be needing fish stock for this recipe, but don't worry, it's really easy to make. Luckily, I recently uploaded my great & easy fish stock recipe to Outdoor Cooking, so you don't have any excuses not to make this great chowder. So go ahead and enjoy.

How to make New England fish chowder

Makes 6 servings    


  • 2 1/2 pounds fresh firm white fish fillets, cut into 2" chunks
  • 4 cups fish stock or 2 cups bottled or canned clam juice and 2 cups of water
  • 6 ounces lean salt pork (with the rind removed), diced
  • 4-5 medium onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 5 medium boiling potatoes, sliced or diced
  • 1 teaspoon fresh sage (or 1/2 teaspoon dried)
  • 1 teaspoon thyme (or 1/2 teaspoon dried)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly crushed black pepper, or to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
  • Additional fish stock, milk or water (reserved)
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 cup light or heavy cream
  • Fresh parsley, thyme and sage coarsely chopped -- for garnish


Step 1: Preparing the base

  1. Blanch pork for for 5 minutes in about 2 quarts of water and drain
  2. Sauté the blanched salt pork for several minutes in a large pot and brown lightly to produce fat. Stir in the onions and garlic, and cook 8 to 10 minutes, stirring frequently, until the onions are translucent and tender. Drain off excess fat and save it.
  3. Stir the flour into the onion mixture. Add a little of the reserved fat if the mixture is too dry, and cook slowly, stirring constantly for 2 minutes, then remove from heat.
  4. Add two cups fish stock into the onion mixture (one at a time), and water and bring to simmer.
  5. Add the potatoes, herbs, and crushed peppercorns. Cook until potatoes are tender.
  6. Add cream and then simmer slowly 5 minutes. Taste and add salt as needed.
  7. You can refrigerate the base once it has cooled for up to two days

Step 2: Preparing the fish chowder

  1. Bring the base to simmering temperature, and add the fish.
  2. Add extra stock, milk or water as required to cover the ingredients. A
  3. Allow to simmer for about 5 minutes, or until the fish is opaque. Take care not to overcook. Check seasoning , adjust as necessary.
  4. Garnished with chopped fresh herbs and serve.