By Amy Bronee
One of the perks of living on the southern tip of Vancouver Island is being able to go for a walk on the beach any time of year. In the cold months, the blustery winds churn up the ocean, sending waves crashing onto the rocky shore. Standing there looking out at fishing boats in the strait, it’s easy to start daydreaming about comfort seafood, the kind that warms the belly and soothes the soul. It was after just such a walk that I first made this creamy fish chowder. It uses seafood commonly found around Vancouver Island – salmon and rockfish – along with diced potato, carrot and chopped kale. Use chicken or vegetable broth if it’s what you have on hand, but nothing beats chowder made with homemade fish stock. I save fish bones and tails and simmer them in water with onions, carrots and celery, then freeze the stock for another day. For me, this fish chowder is Vancouver Island in a bowl.
West Coast Fish Chowder, Courtesy Amy Bronee, FamilyFeedbag.com, Victoria
With rockfish and salmon, this chowder represents some of the West Coast’s best seafood.
Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 30 mins
Yields: 4 to 5 servings
1 tbsp (15 mL) butter
1 cup (250 mL) diced yellow onion
1 cup (250 mL) diced peeled carrot
1/2 tsp (2 mL) salt
2 tbsp (30 mL) all-purpose flour
1 tsp (5 mL) dried thyme
3 cups (750 mL) peeled diced potato
3 oz (85 g) smoked candied salmon nuggets, chopped (about 1/2 cup)
4 cups (1 L) fish stock (or chicken or vegetable stock)
10 oz (280 g) rockfish fillet, cubed (or other firm white fish)
1 cup (250 mL) roughly chopped kale
1/2 cup (125 mL) heavy cream
1.5 oz (45 mL) white wine
1. Melt butter in soup pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onion, carrot and salt. Cook for 5 minutes to soften, stirring frequently.
2. Stir in flour and thyme to coat vegetables. Add potato and candied salmon. Pour in stock. Turn heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
3. Stir in rockfish, kale and heavy cream. Increase the heat to medium-high and cook, uncovered, for 10 more minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from the heat. Stir in wine.
Amy’s home-cooking blog FamilyFeedbag.com has earned her several recognitions, including a Jamie Oliver Blog of the Month award and being named to Western Living magazine’s list of the Top 40 Foodies Under 40. Amy’s bestselling cookbook The Canning Kitchen: 101 Simple Small Batch Recipes is a celebration of home canning traditions in the modern home kitchen. Through her hands-on cooking classes in Victoria, Amy loves to connect with other home cooks and make simple, delicious food together.