Every time I go to Legal Seafood Restaurant, I always get the fish chowder. I really love it and thought it might be good to try and make it myself. My research came up with some interesting ingredients....one in particular, that I simply couldn't bring myself to make! Have you ever heard of strong fish broth? It involves boiling fish heads and bones! Nope. Sorry. Can't do it! I did find a pleasing alternative, though. Clam juice! Who knew? The other interesting ingredient was the fish. I learned that you can buy fish pieces, which turn out to be a variety of white fish, so the flavors are wonderful.
Here is my list of ingredients:
about 2 tbs butter
1 Vidalia onion, chopped
4 stalks of celery, chopped
4 cloves of garlic, chopped
2 slices of Panchetta, diced (or you could use 5-6 slices of bacon)
3 tbs flour
2 bottles of clam juice (8 oz each)
about 6 new potatoes, cut up
2 bay leaves
3-4 branches of fresh thyme (use twine to tie them together)
1 1/2 pounds of "fish pieces"
4 cups chicken broth
1 cup either whole milk, 1/2 and 1/2, cream (whichever you would like)
Salt and Pepper to taste
Begin by cooking the Panchetta. When you have rendered the fat, add the onion and celery, along with the chopped garlic, and cook over medium heat for about 10 minutes.
Mix in the flour and pour in the clam juice, along with 2 cups of chicken broth. Whisk until smooth, then add your potatoes and herbs. Simmer for about 10 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender.
Now is the time to add your fish. It only takes about 10 minutes to cook.
At this point, I try to decide how much "soup" I need. In this case, I added another 2 cups of chicken broth and some heavy cream. I like my fish chowder to be a little on the rich side, but of course, you can make it as "healthy" as you would like! If the chowder isn't thick enough, you can always add a little mixture of cornstarch and water.