This recipe has evolved from an amazing chowder that I once had at the Columbus International Festival in Ohio. I think it was the Scandanavian table that was honoring their long-standing countrymen’s careers of treacherous trips on the ocean. I think it was really to honor the countrywomen’s careers of having boatloads of fish to cook and trying to come up with new recipes that didn’t resemble a fish face.
Now this recipe can easily be done in a pot on the stove and done in an hour, but then the flavors wouldn’t have a chance to fester all together. I prefer it in the crock pot, usually made from leftover salmon or tilapia. You could probably use halibut, red snapper or maybe even some trout if you wanted to, depending on what you like. If you don’t have leftovers to use, then just throw the (deboned, please) fish filets into a pan with a little butter, salt and pepper and then bake it, let it cool and flake it. Realistically, a budget-minded mama could also use a couple cans of pink salmon and still have a similar result.
Well, if we wanted to, we could start by sauteeing up some diced bacon with the mirepoix (fancy word for chopped carrots, celery and onions) and then including it all in the pot for a smoky and salty addition. Or, we could throw in half a pound of shrimp at the end of the day and make the chowder heartier. But I keep it simple and it’s still a crowd-pleaser and probably a little healthier too.
4 carrots, peeled and diced
3 celery stalks, diced
1 medium onion, diced
1 chopped zucchini, unpeeled
3 cups vegetable broth
2 bay leaves
1 clove garlic, minced
salt and pepper
1/2 – 1 lb fish– no skin, no bones; cooked, cooled and flaked
(1 T. corn starch dissolved into 2 cups cold milk)
Put all ingredients (except corn starch and milk) in the crockpot, with the fish being last. Cook 4-6 hours on high. Remove bay leaves. Dissolve corn starch incold milk and then add to the pot 1 hour before serving.
If you’d like to add some variety, offer cheddar cheese, chopped scallions and puffy oyster crackers to top your fish chowder. Or a toy boat, if you can find one that hasn’t been in the bath.