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Seafood Chowder

Posted by on July 16, 2012

It’s still howling 20 to 30kts here at the moment, boat heeling in the gusts. The thermometer thinks its 9 degrees C, but with this wind, it feels a lot colder than that.

With this rather chilly weather, I have rediscovered soup. A hot bowl of soup seems to be just the ticket for days like this, but I’m not keen on those thin watery soups. I like mine thick.

I thought I’d share a recipe, my first for this new category “My Galley Rules”, from my mum. She used to make this great chowder, and I have found quick, easy to make, and ideal for winter life aboard.


  1. A fist sized amount of potatoes for each intended diner.
  2. A large onion.
  3. As much garlic as you like.
  4. Stock of some sort, be it seafood or chicken. I use a chicken stock cube or two.
  5. A red capsicum.
  6. Milk, fresh, UHT, or powdered, it doesn’t matter.
  7. A couple of slices of bacon.
  8. Chives, shallots or parsley, if you can get it.
  9. Any sort of seafood you can get!


    First you need to make a base for the chowder. Wash the potatoes (I don’t bother peeling them). Peel the cloves of as much garlic as you like. Toss both in a pot with the stock and just enough water to cover the potatoes. Boil until the potatoes are soft. Mash them with a fork, or potato masher if you have room for one. Salt and pepper to taste.Add enough milk to make the mash into a thick soup. If you are using powdered milk here, make it up so the milk is thick and creamy. If you can get fresh cream, add in a goodly amount now!
    Okay, that’s the base sorted.

    Chop the onion, capsicum and bacon finely. When I say ‘fine’ I don’t mean microscopic here… I once gave an onion to a friend and asked her to chop it finely. I came back 10 minutes later to find she’d made a purée of half the onion and was just tackling the second half… So ‘fine’ means bits less than 10mm in size, but greater than 5mm!

    Add the chopped ingredients to the base. Simmer the base until they’re cooked, but be very careful to not let it boil or burn on the bottom. Now add the seafood!

    What sort of seafood? Anything! If it’s fish, make sure you have all the bones out of it. Debeard mussels, drain the oil from a can of smoked oysters. Chop whatever it is into spoon sized chunks if it isn’t already. I have used salmon, tuna, calamari, oysters and mussels fresh off the rocks… I haven’t tried tinned fish, I think it might break up too much.

    The seafood won’t take long to cook, so get the bowls ready. If you are really keen you could serve with grilled cheese on toast, which is both delicious and handy for sopping out the bowl at the end.

    Oh! The chives/shallots/parsley should be finely chopped and stirred in just before serving! I always nearly forget that…

So there you have it:


Apologies for the less than glamorous photo, the soup sloshed about a bit with the boat heeling, and the light was tricky…

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