Fall is in full force and the soup, chowder, and stew season has arrived. This is my favorite time of the year; leaves are changing and showing their beautiful colors, the first chill is in the air, and the hunting season has begun. My J & J Alaskan halibut chowder served with Farmers Bread is a substantial chowder with potatoes, line-caught halibut, and bacon that speaks fall and comfort.
Having a treat such as Alaskan halibut in my freezer, needed some real soul searching on what to do with such a delicate catch. First, I was thinking Asian, then the Mediterranean, and finally it hit me, chowder, a recipe as simple as it gets.
Chef Paul Sorgule, who writes the food blog Harvest America Ventures, nailed simplicity, real enjoyment, and flavor with the article CHEFS- KEEP IT SIMPLE, DO IT BETTER. What a great article and so true, food in the absence of flavor and passion will quickly lose its appeal.
Alaskan halibut chowder is my first seafood recipe post on my blog. Not that I’m afraid to cook seafood at home, what inspired me to cook halibut chowder is the fact that I was the lucky recipient of about 7 lbs. of fresh Alaskan halibut. Halibut caught in the clear cold waters of the Pacific Ocean is a Chef’s dream. The filets were as fresh as they can be, with a clean, no fishy smell whatsoever.
Webster dictionary defines comfort food as:
Food that is satisfying because it’s prepared in a simple or traditional way and reminds you of home, family, or friends, all-important qualifications that my chowder recipe passes with flying colors. In September, my friend Joe and his son John went on a fishing trip to Alaska and caught about 150 lbs. of rockfish, salmon, and a HUGE halibut. The quality of the halibut was amazing. The Halibut arrived nicely portioned, vacuum packed, ready to go with compliments of Joe, John, and the Calder Mountain Lodge located on the Northern tip of Prince Wales Island.
Halibut chowder, a dish that is very satisfying telling a fisherman’s tale about history, traditions, simple food, flavor, and acceptance.
“It was THIS Big”
Halibut prefer deep waters, 200 to 300 feet deep with rocks and ledges, and are prized as trophy fish for their quality flakey meat. I wish I could have been onboard the fishing vessel. I just can imagine and hear the scream: FISH ON. I have a visual of Joe jumping into action grabbing the fishing pole, it must have been exhilarating and hard work to steadily reel in a 95 lb. beast from a depth of 200 to 300 feet. Finally spotting the monster coming up to the surface and getting it into the boat is another story to tell. By the way, the Alaska state record weight for a halibut is 450 lbs.
Alaskan halibut chowder cooked in my favorite Dutch Oven served with crusty Farmer’s bread, is a match made in heaven. Cooking halibut is an easy task, the secret is not to overcook the fish. If you overcook halibut it can be dry. Halibut has a very mild flavor, so adding a little bacon creates a great flavor combination. My chowder is cooked mindfully, with attention to detail, and beats a canned or frozen soup any day.
Sometimes I cook like it will be my last meal and indulge. However, I realize that it’s ok as long as I go back to eating mindfully and in moderation. Talking about moderation, a word that is used a lot more in our days with everything that has to do with food. The fundamental question you need to ask yourself is 1 scoop or 1 pint of cream – moderation. There is a real danger with eating in moderation, once you give yourself the green light to eat anything in “moderation” I will guarantee it, you are in trouble. I know you agree, there is the need for a basic level of nutritional education, portion sizes, variation, seasonality, and quality that goes hand in hand with eating in moderation.
J & J Alaskan Halibut Chowder
- 4 slices smoked bacon diced
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 medium carrot peeled and diced
- 1 medium onion chopped
- 1 rib celery chopped
- 5 tsp all-purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp paprika powder
- 8 ounce clam juice bottled
- 1 each bay leave
- 1/8 tsp dry thyme
- 4 ounce heavy whipping cream
- 1/2 cubs 2 % milk
- 16 ounce chicken stock
- 1 Lb gold potatoes
- 1 Lb Alaskan Halibut cut into 1 - inch pieces
- 1/8 tsp Sea Salt
- 1/8 tsp Pepper
- 2 tbsp Parsley chopped
Cook bacon, onion, carrots, and celery
- Using a Dutch Oven add olive oil and bacon, cook bacon over moderate heat until crisp and transfer with a slotted spoon to a paper towel to drain. Pour off fat and sauté onion, carrots, and celery over medium heat until soft.4 slices smoked bacon, 1 medium carrot, 1 medium onion, 1 rib celery, 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Cook the chowder
- Add 5 tsp of flour and cook for about 3 minutes. Add paprika powder and continue stirring for 30 seconds. Add clam juice, chicken stock, cream, bay leaf, milk, and thyme, bring to a boil, and then reduce to a simmer.5 tsp all-purpose flour, 1/2 tsp paprika powder, 8 ounce clam juice, 1 each bay leave, 4 ounce heavy whipping cream, 1/2 cubs 2 % milk, 16 ounce chicken stock, 1/8 tsp dry thyme
Add potatoes and halibut
- While chowder is cooking, peel potatoes and cut into 1/4 inch dice. Add potatoes to chowder and simmer uncovered for 8 minutes. Add halibut and simmer until just cooked through about 5 minutes. Season with sea salt and pepper1 Lb gold potatoes, 1 Lb Alaskan Halibut, 1/8 tsp Sea Salt, 1/8 tsp Pepper
- Garnish each serving with bacon bits, chopped parsley, and serve with crusty Farmers bread2 tbsp Parsley
Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate