Fairhaven Fish Chowder
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- 3 lbs. hake
- 1 quart diced potatoes
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves (optional)
- 1 tablespoon thyme
- 1 tablespoon marjoram
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/2 lb lean salt pork, diced
- 1 1/2 cups canned diced tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon sage
- 5 soda crackers
- salt and pepper, to taste
- Whether prepared in a Crock-Pot or on the stove top for a Winter evening’s meal, or over the gas grill’s side burner in the dog days of Summer, this Fish Chowder is always good. It can be made ahead, and is even better the next day! Unlike the traditional New England Clam Chowder, this version more resembles what has come to be known as Manhattan Style Clam Chowder.This recipe is a famous Rhode Island recipe circa the early 1800′s, which Mrs. Elizabeth Bumpus shared with friends while living in Fairhaven, Massachusetts in 1930.
- Fairhaven was once a whaling port, and later, became a home for whaling ship captains and ship owners.
- Herman Melville (author of Moby Dick) set sail from Fairhaven in 1841, aboard the ship Acushnet. We can’t tell you that Mr. Melville dined on this chowder while passing through the town, but the dish was commonly served in the region during the era.
- In a stockpot or large soup pot, simmer the fish in salted water and cool. Remove skin and bones (if any). Save cooking water and set fish aside.
- Boil potatoes which have been peeled and diced into 1/2 inch cubes in the same water that was used for cooking the fish. Watch potatoes carefully and do not overcook or they will become mushy.
- Grind or chop the pork using a meat grinder or cleaver (or have the butcher do it). Or, alternatively, slice into 1/4 inch dice using a sharp knife. Saute pork in a skillet until golden. Grind or chop onions garlic and add, continuing to cook for several minutes but do not allow to brown. Add this mixture to potatoes in the stockpot.
- Add canned tomatoes (or an equal amount of red-ripe fresh tomatoes may be used – skins removed). Boil 2 minutes, then add the flaked fish. Boil for another 3-4 minutes, and season to taste with salt, pepper, and paprika.
- Crumble 5 soda crackers and sprinkle over all seasoning.
- Keep covered with a little water so that it will not boil away. A few slices of lemon may be added.
- Cooks Note: For even more flavor, add 1 bay leaf, a few peppercorns, and two cloves of minced garlic (when sauteéing the onions). We prefer to use only 1/2 tsp. marjoram and thyme rather than the amount called for in the original recipe.
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