Maybe it’s because I grew up in Nova Scotia, one of Canada’s Maritime provinces, but I love a good bowl of fish chowder. While there are a few restaurants that do a good job, many serve up “approximations” that are thickened with flour and lack real taste.
A good chowder starts with quality fish; milder whitefish like haddock or cod are the best choices.
Here’s a version I came up with that allows me to enjoy this dish without the extra calories, carbohydrates and saturated fat that traditional chowders contain. Plus, it’s loaded with quality protein.
Atlantic Fish Chowder
2-1/2 pounds frozen haddock or cod pieces
2 onions, chopped
3-4 stalks celery, chopped
1 small head cauliflower, chopped
1 can evaporated skim milk
1 heaping Tbsp nutritional yeast
4 cups water
2 Tbsp olive oil
sea salt and pepper
1/2 tsp paprika
- In a large Dutch oven or soup pot, sauté the onion and celery in olive oil until the onions are slightly translucent, about 10 minutes.
- Add 4 cups of water along with the cauliflower. Put the frozen pieces of fish on top. As the fish softens slightly, push the pieces down into the water, adding more liquid if necessary until the fish is just covered with liquid. Cover, turn down the heat, and simmer very gently, about 20 minutes. Carefully remove the fish with a slotted spoon to a dish and set aside, leaving the broth and vegetables in the pot.
- Cool the soup and add the can of evaporated skim milk, sea salt, pepper, paprika and nutritional yeast. The nutritional yeast will help give the chowder its creamy texture (buy it in health food stores and most larger grocery chains — I use the Bob’s Red Mill brand).
- Pureé the soup in a blender until the desired consistency is reached. Check the seasoning.
- Add the fish back into the chowder. Stir in some parsley prior to serving.
This soup is even better when served the next day, as the flavours meld together. It’s easily reheated.
PS: I don’t mean to demonize traditional chowders that contain butter, cream and potatoes. They’re truly the best. But this version I can enjoy more often as it fits within my dietary requirements of being high in protein, low in carbs, while still containing “good” fats.
PPS: I’ve been buying my fish from Fisherfolk in Toronto. They have excellent line-caught fish from Nova Scotia in addition to their other Canadian offerings. They have a retail store near the StrengthBox gym that’s open Thursday to Saturday, and you’ll also find them at the Brickworks and Wychwood markets in Toronto. If you’re in Toronto, I hope you’ll give them a try!