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The art of elegance: Elegant Fish Chowder


November 8, 2009

The art of making soup, like living life, is an imperfect science.

Despite following all the instructions and trying to do everything right, you are never quite sure what the outcome will be. Perhaps the lesson here is to allow life’s mysteries and adventures to appear and explore each one. Whether that is in the kitchen or in each day-to-day, there is both madness and magic to letting go and seeing what happens.

On this gray, Sunday I am enjoying a quiet day at home with the dogs, a glass of wine, and my thoughts. In the spirit of ‘come what may’ I decided to whip up my Mom’s famous ‘Elegant Fish Chowder’.

Elegant Fish Chowder

I particularly like making this ahead of time,  letting it sit a day or two for the flavors “to mingle”, (mingling being a good soup principle and all) then serving it with a crusty loaf of French Bread , and a big, beautiful Caesar Salad.

2-3 lbs Fish fillets
1 1/2 cups cold water
Bay leaf
3 cups diced potatoes
1 tsp. salt
1/3 c. butter
1 1/2 cups thinly sliced onions
1 cup chopped celery
2 Tbsp. flour
3 cups scalded milk
1 cup cream
1 cup sour cream
Salt & pepper
1/4 cup finely chopped parsley

In 2 Gal pot, heat fish and bay leaf in water, uncovered, to simmering.

Simmer 5 mins (till fish flakes).  Remove fish, discard any skin.

Add potatoes and salt to simmering water. Cook till tender.

Meanwhile (don’t you love the “meanwhiles” ?)…………….

Saute onions and celery in butter till tender.

Stir in flour. Saute 1-2 mins more.

Combine vegs w/ stock and potatoes.

Saute 8 mins till thickening starts. Remove bay leaf.

Combine scalded milk and creams.  Add slowly to stock pot. DO NOT BOIL.

Add fish, S/P  to taste, and parsley.


  1. Margot says:

    as the lovely recipient of your incredible meal and wise words I would like to declare this soup a fantastic success! thank you for having such a welcoming home and a never ending supply of love. you are the best.

  2. Kathy Ramsey says:

    This looks wonderful and I intend to make it this week. I have one question–that is so little water, 1.5 cups. Should I add more water before simmering the 3 cups of potatoes? Thank you!

    • Erina says:

      Hi Kathy,

      Thanks for reading and glad you’re going to try this chowder. It is tried and tested and a favorite of just about everyone who has it!

      I know the cup and a half water seems like way too little…but that’s really all it takes! You almost more steam the potatoes than boil them, so it seems to do the trick.

      Let me know how yours turns out!

  3. […] Elegant Fish Chowder, Caesar Salad, Crusty Baguette […]

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