Chuck's Three-Day Fish Chowder

"I've got a whole bookshelf on the subject," says Chuck Davis, Miles Chapin's cousin and personal chowder consultant. "My chowder, well, it's a little different than everybody else's." Chuck's three-day theory is based on his quest for clear fish stock: Two days, he says, are needed for "sludge" and fat to separate.

Featured in: Chowder Country

Chuck's Three-Day Fish Chowder
Chuck's three-day theory is based on his quest for clear fish stock: Two days, he says, are needed for "sludge" and fat to separate.
Yield: serves 6-8

For the Fish Stock

  • 1 (2 1/2-lb.) whole haddock or cod
  • 1 small yellow onion, peeled
  • 2 stalks celery
  • 2 small carrots
  • 23 cup dry white wine
  • 2 sprigs fresh parsley
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp. whole black peppercorns

For the Fish Chowder

  • 13 lb. salt pork, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 stalks celery, diced
  • 1 medium white onion, diced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp. chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 lb. haddock or cod filets (reserved from above)
  • 2 lb. red potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • Salt, to taste
  • Tabasco, to taste
  • Paprika, to garnish

Instructions

  1. Day One: If your fishmonger has not done so, clean and filet fish. Reserve filets in refrigerator; then rinse fish skeleton and cut into 4'' lengths. Place in a large pot. Roughly chop onion, celery, and carrots; add to pot with wine, parsley, thyme, bay leaf, peppercorns, and 10 cups water. Bring to a boil over high heat; reduce heat to low and simmer for 40 minutes, skimming fat and foam. Strain first through a colander to separate bones and vegetables, then through a colander lined with cheesecloth to catch finer bits of bones and vegetables. Return to pot and reduce by half over medium heat. Set aside to cool to room temperature. Refrigerate.
  2. Day Two: Cook salt pork in a skillet over medium-low heat until crisp, about 20 minutes. Remove pork, drain on paper towels, and set aside to use as garnish. Cook garlic, celery, and onion in rendered fat with bay leaf and thyme over low heat for 20 minutes. Add reserved fish filets, skin side up, and 12 cup water. Cover, simmer for 4 minutes, then peel off skin. Refrigerate filets and vegetables.
  3. Day Three: Skim top layer of fat from stock and slowly pour into pot, leaving any sediment in container. Add vegetables from day two (reserving fish) and potatoes, cover, and simmer over medium heat until tender, about 20 minutes. Stir in milk and cream, then flake fish into chowder. Simmer (do not boil) until heated through. Discard bay leaf. Season to taste with salt and Tabasco. Ladle into bowls, top with salt pork, and sprinkle with paprika.