This blog post was written and queued before Casey's death. If we stumble a bit over the next few days, please understand. Being back home in New England, it's hard to go to any restaurant or little diner that does not offer some New England chowder. For our non-American readers, New England is the region of the USA comprised of the six most northeastern states and known, among other things, for its “white” chowder, or if you're from Massachusetts like I am, it's called chowdah!
Let me explain that New Englanders have a tendency to pronounce “er's” as a's and ah's, hence chowdah, instead of chowder. We also manage to turn “a's” into “er's”, e.g. My sistah, Linder, wants some soder crackahs with her chowdah.
There's a rather emotional controversy about types of chowders beyond the traditional white, milk-based variety. New Englanders firmly believe other types of chowdah do not exist. Manhattan chowder, which is tomato-based and by dint of its name from New York, is just another soup, not a chowdah (and not very good according to some). Rhode Islanders have a distinctive thin, broth-based chowder (no milk) and although the state is part of the New England six, its chowder is not acknowledged as the real thing...unless of course, you're a Rhode Islander....er, Rhode Islandah.
We love chowders of all descriptions. They're tasty and make good use of any type of fish, seafood or shellfish we have available ... or not.
- ½ medium onion, chopped
- 1 Tbsp (15g) butter/margarine
- 6 medium potatoes, pared and chopped into bite-sized cubes
- 1 bay leaf
- ½ lb (¼ kg) raw fish or seafood, cut into bite-sized pieces**
- 1 cup (250ml) clam broth or fish stock***
- 1 cup (250ml) milk or cream
- In a soup pot, melt butter and saute onions till soft. Add potatoes, stock or broth and enough water to cover potatoes. Add bay leaf. Simmer until potatoes are nearly done. Add fish. Cook another 7-10 minutes (don't overcook the fish). Add milk or cream and heat through, but do not boil. Add salt and pepper to taste. Makes 4-6 servings.
- And when there's no fish? We make corn chowdah by substituting a 15½ oz (425g) can of corn with liquid to the soup pot. Sometimes for variety, I add a can of corn anyway.
- You can substitute canned clams or seafood if no fresh is available.
- You can also add ¼ cup (45g) of chopped celery if you have it available.