With four varieties of seafood, fennel, plenty of dill and a rich base, this creamy seafood chowder will surely be a favourite! For one seriously delicious meal, serve with a big hunk of bread for dunking!
Today I’m sharing one of hubby and my absolutely favourite meals … creamy seafood chowder.
This is not something we enjoy on the regular, but rather for special occasions, especially during the holidays.
For what seems like forever ago, hubby and I make homemade seafood chowder on Tibb’s eve (December 23rd).
It’s pretty much our official kick off to the holidays and we always love the process of spending time together in the kitchen whilst listening to Christmas music and have a glass of vino. And, of course, we get to enjoy the fruits of our labour by having a bowl of delicious chowder afterwards.
This seafood chowder recipe is absolutely chock-full of seafood and a little bowl goes a long way.
It has a rich, creamy base and plenty of dill (to add freshness). Plus, seafood and dill are kinda awesome together.
Ingredients for Creamy Seafood Chowder
- Lots and lots of seafood, including cod, salmon, shrimp and scallops
- Olive oil
- Veggies, like celery, carrot, potatoes and fennel
- Aromatics, like leek, garlic and dill
- Salt and plenty of pepper
- Seafood broth and heavy cream
Can I Use Fresh or Frozen Seafood?
Whatever you prefer!
I actually used all frozen here and simply thawed before using.
A Few Notes On Seafood
This pretty much goes without saying, but use fresh seafood, whether that’s fresh (not frozen) or freshly thawed frozen seafood. Don’t use something that’s been sitting around in your fridge for a few days.
Opt for salmon fillets, not salmon steaks. If the salmon has skin on, you can ask your fishmonger to remove or you can easily remove yourself by carefully running a knife underneath and removing.
Tip: Even if you do purchase boneless salmon fillets, there sometimes are bones in there that may have been missed. These bones are skinny, white and kinda hard. Slowly run your fingers across the top of the salmon (and along the sides) and feel for bones. If there are any there, they can be easily removed with some tweezers or plucking out with your fingers.
Ensure the shrimp are peeled and tails are removed and deveined (if not already done so). This is a great guide for how to peel and devein shrimp
Ensure that the side muscle of each scallop is removed before using.
Tip: If you run your finger along the side of the scallop, you can feel the side muscle. Pull it back and tear off and discard before using scallops. Those are tough and not pleasant to eat.
Can I Use Different Seafood?
This is kinda like a ‘gourmet’ seafood chowder, if you will, because of all the seafood in here.
If you want to use just a couple of varieties, go for it!
And, if you want to sub out something, that’s okay too.
Another white fish, like haddock, halibut or tilapia would work instead of cod.
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How to Thicken Chowder
This seafood chowder is creamy, but if you want things thick you could add a flour roux or cornstarch slurry.
To make a flour roux, melt about 3 tablespoons of butter in a pan on the stovetop and whisk in an equal amount of flour, stirring for a couple of minutes. Then, stir into the chowder.
To make a cornstarch slurry, mix about 1.5 tablespoons of cornstarch with an equal amount of cold water and stir into the chowder. Cook for a couple of minutes.
The amount you use will vary, depending on how thick you want things.
Tips & Variations for Making the Best Seafood Chowder
Be careful not to boil the fish chowder when cooking. You don’t want to run the risk of splitting your base.
Don’t toss the fennel fronds! They make for a lovely garnish on top.
Leek was used as the onion component. If you don’t have on hand or don’t want to use, yellow or white onion (or even some shallots) will totally do!
I enjoy a lot of dill and black pepper in this chowder. It just cuts through the richness of the creamy base. If you want to use less, though, go for it. Use what makes your belly happy!
More Easy Seafood Recipes
- Easy Fish Stew
- Fish Curry with Coconut Milk
- Crispy Fish Burger
- Traditional Newfoundland Cod au Gratin
You probably already know I’m gonna say this, but enjoying this chowder with a big hunk of bread is probably the best thing ever!
Hope you love this one as much as we do! Our family thinks it’s the best seafood chowder recipe!
If you make this fish chowder recipe, be sure to leave a comment below. Love to know how you enjoyed!
Creamy Seafood Chowder (with dill and bacon)
- ½ pound bacon , cut into lardons or diced (about 6 slices)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 leek , cut in half lengthwise and sliced thinly into half moons (white, light green and tender darker green parts only, not the tougher dark green part), about 2 to 3 cups. Rinse well and drain before using as leek can contain debris/dirt between the layers. Alternatively, you can use diced yellow or white onion.
- 3 to 4 cloves garlic , minced
- 2 stalks celery , thinly sliced, about ¼ inch thick (about 1.25 cups)
- 2 carrots , peeled and thinly sliced, about ¼ inch thick (about 1.25 cup)
- 1 fennel bulb , core removed and fennel thinly sliced (about 1.5 cups)
- 1 pound baby potatoes , cut into bite-sized pieces (depending on size, cut each potato in half or thirds).
- 1 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
- 1.5 to 2 teaspoons black pepper , divided
- 3.5 cups seafood broth
- ¼ cup chopped fresh dill (Plus, more for garnish, if you like).
- 2 cups heavy cream (also known as 'whipping cream' (35% milk fat))
- 1 pound cod fillets , cut into bite-sized pieces (skinless and boneless)
- ½ pound salmon fillets , cut into bite-sized pieces (skinless and boneless)
- ½ pound shrimp , shells removed and shrimp cleaned (I used 36 to 45 count)
- ½ pound scallops , side muscle removed and horizontally sliced (I used 20 to 40 count)
- In a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat, cook bacon, stirring occasionally, until crisp, about 10 minutes. Drain grease. Remove bacon from pot and drain on brown paper towel. Wipe out pan of excess grease.
- Add olive oil to the pot and, once hot, cook leek and garlic, stirring often, for about 5 to 7 minutes.
- Add celery, carrots, fennel, potatoes, cooked bacon, 1 teaspoon each of salt and pepper and seafood broth. Stir to combine.
- Bring to a simmer and reduce heat to a medium simmer. Cover (with lid just slightly ajar) and cook 10 to 12 minutes or until veggies are tender.
- Pour in cream and 2 tablespoons dill. Stir. Add cod and salmon. Stir. Bring to a LOW SIMMER (don't boil). Cook 5 minutes.
- Add shrimp and scallops, stir, and cook 3 to 4 minutes or until everything is cooked through.
- Stir in 2 more tablespoons dill and another ½ to 1 teaspoon of black pepper (or to taste). Taste for seasoning and add more salt, if desired.
- Serve, garnish with dill (if you like) and enjoy!
- Ensure that the side muscle of each scallop is removed before using (as discussed above), the shrimp are peeled and deveined and the cod and salmon are free from skin and bones.
- Be careful not to boil the fish chowder when cooking. You don’t want to run the risk of splitting your base.
- Don’t toss the fennel fronds! They make for a lovely garnish on top.
- Leek was used as the onion component. If you don’t have on hand or don’t want to use, yellow or white onion (or even some shallots) will totally do!
- I enjoy a lot of dill and black pepper in this chowder. It just cuts through the richness of the creamy base. If you want to use less, though, go for it. Use what makes your belly happy!
Nutrition estimate (if provided) is based on 1 Serving.
Nutrition information (if provided) is provided as a courtesy and should be considered an estimate only. Ingredients can vary and Girl Heart Food makes no guarantees to the accuracy of this information. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
A note on times provided: appliances vary, any prep and/or cook times provided are guidelines only.