Brooke has a few wonderful chowder and stew recipes in her book, Dishing Up Maine, and it was very difficult trying to decided which one to make. It was a toss up between this recipe and the Creamy Smoked Fish and Corn Chowder that was listed on the next page.
I served the chowder with a fresh baguette, sliced, brushed with oil, and sprinkled with garlic powder, thyme, and shredded parmesan cheese. I baked them for 10 minutes at 350 degrees.
Classic Down East Haddock Chowder
recipe by Brooke Dojny for Dishing Up Maine
yields 4 to 6 main course servings (about 2 quarts)
3 oz bacon or salt pork, cut into small pieces, about 3/4 cup
1 large onion, sliced
1 celery rib, sliced (optional)
2 cups bottled clam juice
1 cup water, plus more if necessary
3 cups diced russet or all purpose, such as yukon gold (about 1 pound)
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 cups half & half
2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme or 2 teaspoons dried
2 pounds haddock, cod, or pollock, cut into 2 to 3 inch chunks
2 tablespoons butter
Cook the bacon in a large soup pot over medium heat until the bacon is crisp and the fat is rendered, 10 to 15 minutes. Remove the bacon bits with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels (refrigerate until ready to serve)You should have at least 2 to 3 tablespoons of fat left in the pot.
Add the onion and celery to the drippings and cook over medium heat until the vegetables begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Add the clam juice, water, potatoes, salt, and pepper, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium low and cook, covered until the potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes.
Add the half and half and thyme. Add the fish, bring to a simmer over medium heat, and cook until the fish is opaque, about 5 minutes. Cool, uncovered, and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, or overnight.
When ready to serve, add the butter and reheat gently (do not boil) adjusting the seasonings and adding more water if necessary, and ladle into bowls. Pass a bowl of reserved bacon bits for sprinkle on top, if desired.
Note: You do not have to wait the 4 hours. Eric and I enjoyed this chowder once it was finished and it tasted wonderful. Brooke suggests that the "depth of the flavor lies in the aging process" and it was very tasty the next day at lunch. I do believe it made a difference in the flavor and it might be easier to make this chowder ahead of time if you are entertaining. But if you don't have the time, you do not have to wait.