One of the nice things about New England is the availability of really good fish chowder (and of course, clam chowder) in restaurants. However, I find it’s also nice to prepare my own at home — this mouth-watering, creamy (although not exactly slim!) version so easy to make, and the herbed crackers are really what make this dish. Delicious! Hope you’ll give this a try!
3 Tbsp butter
1/2 tsp dried thyme, chopped (or 1 tsp fresh)
1/2 tsp dried rosemary, chopped (or 1 tsp fresh)
3 cups oyster crackers
3 slices bacon, finely chopped
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 carrots, finely chopped
2 celery ribs, finely chopped
2 Tbsp butter
4 tsp flour
1 tsp ground paprika
2 8-oz bottles clam juice
2 cups water
1 cup heavy cream
2 baking potatoes (about 1 lb tot.), peeled and cut into 1/4-inch cubes
1 1/2 lbs firm white fish (cod, halibut, etc.), cut into 1-inch pieces
1 1/2 tsp salt, plus a pinch
1/2 tsp ground black pepper, plus a pinch
3 Tbsp chopped parsley
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Melt 3 Tbsp butter with thyme and rosemary in a large sauce pan over medium heat. Add a pinch each of salt and ground black pepper. Add oyster crackers and stir well to combine. Spread cracker mixture out in a single layer on a baking sheet. Place in oven and bake 10 minutes, until golden brown.
Cook bacon over medium-high heat in a large sauce pan or Dutch oven. Stir until crisp, then transfer to paper towels using a slotted spoon. Drain off fat. Add onions, carrots, celery and 2 Tbsp butter to pan. Reduce heat to medium. Cook until vegetables have softened, about 10 minutes.
Sprinkle flour over onion mixture and stir 3 minutes. Add paprika and stir another 30 seconds. Add clam juice, water and cream. Increase heat to medium high, add potatoes and stir until mixture comes to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, uncovered, for 12 minutes (stirring occasionally). Stir in fish and cook 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in parsley, 1 1/2 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp black pepper. Serve with the prepared crackers.