As a prairie kid of farm parents growing up in Saskatchewan, seafood chowder was NOT a staple in our regular meal routine. Yet fish is such an important food for protein, healthy fats and nutrients. (Typically, fish of any kind isn’t a favourite for kids…but the more they’re exposed to it, the more normal and yummy it becomes.) When I moved to the west coast and was able to enjoy a wide variety of fresh and local seafood, making non-fishy fish dishes became easy and normal. Now something we eat at least 3 times each week. With great recipes like this one created by my hubby Brian, even if you don’t live near the ocean, you can make delicious and impressive fish meals from carefully selected frozen products. This non-heavy chowder is simple to make. Any variety of fish and shellfish, the ones YOU like, can be used. With warm grainy bread, it makes a perfect meal on a rainy or snowy Canadian winter day. Let the kids ‘fish’ in the soup and see if they can name the fish or shellfish as they catch it on their spoons! (If fish doesn’t fit at all for you, regularly eat flax seed, walnuts and other foods rich in heart-healthy fats.)
West Coast Seafood Chowder Serves 6
- 2 Tbsp canola oil
- 2 shallots, minced
- 1 large carrot, diced finely
- 2 large celery stalks, diced finely
- 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour (or gluten-free flour)
- 1/3 cup dry white wine
- 1 bottle (240 mL) clam juice
- 4 cups reduced sodium chicken or vegetable stock
- 1 tsp each dried thyme leaves and dried parsley
- 1 bay leaf
- 3 medium Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and diced
- ½ lb skinless, boneless wild salmon cut in cubes
- ½ lb skinless, boneless snapper or other white fish, cut in cubes
- 1 lb shellfish, such as scallops, clams and/or mussels
- Old Bay seasoning and leafy greens, optional garnish
- In a large soup pan, heat oil over medium. Sauté shallots, carrots and celery until soft, about 5 minutes.
- Sprinkle in flour and stir well to combine. Cook for about 2 minutes until flour just begins to brown.
- Add white wine and stir well to deglaze the pan (unstick any bits that may be stuck to the bottom).
- Add clam juice, chicken stock, thyme, parsley, bay leaf and potatoes. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about 20 minutes.
- Add fish and shellfish about 10 minutes before serving. Serve garnished as desired.