I am sharing this recipe today at the request of several of the old ladies of Green Harbor, who are pretty much the collective bosses of me. Years ago Snow’s made the best fish chowder you could get in a can. They were purchased by Bumble Bee Tuna, and that was that. Around here you can get Legal Seafoods’ chowders in tubs, but they are a tad pricey, and not as simple as the old school New England Fish Chowdah most of us grew up eating. I have tinkered and come up with what the Green Harbor locals seem to crave—it gets requested at a lot of the soup-suppers. The recipe I’m sharing here has no meat to make it Lent friendly, but it’s also delicious made with bacon or salt pork in lieu of butter, and chicken stock in lieu of vegetable. Below is the Lent-Friendly recipe, which is about as close as you will get to the old school stuff. COD OR HADDOCK ONLY—if I catch anyone using pollock I come to your house and do bad things with a cheese grater. I’m not kidding.
Chrissy’s Green Habah Fish Chowdah
1/2 cup butter, divided
1 large sweet onion, sliced
4/5 medium/large yukon gold potatoes, peeled and diced
1 pinch salt and generous dusting of fresh ground black pepper
3 cups vegetable or fish stock
2 pounds haddock or cod, cubed into bite sized pieces
3 tablespoons of flour (optional)*
4 quart of half and half or light cream (you may also use milk, and add a small can of evaporated milk)
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon Bell's seasoning
3 tablespoons dried parsley flakes or handful of fresh, finely chopped parsley.
Melt 1/4 cup butter over medium heat. Sauté onions until tender. Add the potatoes, salt, pepper, bay leaf, Bell's, and stock. Top with fish. Simmer, covered until potatoes are fork-tender.
Add cream and remaining butter. Season with additional salt and pepper if desired. Heat through and allow to thicken.
Garnish at the finish with parsley.
*I dust the pieces of fish with a bit of flour and some of the salt/pepper before adding to the pot. This is optional, but I find it keeps the pieces from shredding as they cook and makes them more flavorful and tender, and quickens the thickening of the stock.