When cleaning out the freezer this winter I discovered near the bottom that I'd been accumulating yellowtail and AJ fillets, specifically the portions near the tail. These cuts tend to pile up in the freezer for us because the forward lion (the big premium fillet along the back and shoulder above the belly) gets used for sashimi and the bellies will go on the grill right away, and so the rear portion near the tail with its larger percentage of dark meat and corresponding lower yield just gets vacsealed and forgotten until we have a lot of it and need to figure out something to do with it. One can only do some much terriyaki BBQ (our traditional solution) before that gets old, so after sampling some delicious tuna chowder, I decided to go a bit of non-traditional route and try it in chowder.
The result was EXCELLENT. This recipe will of course work for any white meat fish, but I was really surprised at how good the jack species were in a chowder. This chowder base is full of veggies and overall much lighter than an east coast type chowder, so the meatier, heavier jack species work great in it. The end result is good for cold weather but light enough to eat in the summer as well.
- 6 oz butter (1.5 sticks)
- 1 medium brown onion
- 3 carrots (peeled)
- Half a bunch of celery
- 1/3 cups of flour
- 8 oz sliced white mushrooms
- 12 oz frozen yellow corn
- 1 or 2 potatoes
- 32 oz chicken broth
- 8 oz seafood stock (see the Winter Seafood Chowder recipe for some seafood stock tips, or you can purchase clam juice from many grocery stores)
- 2 lbs any kind of fish, or mix of fish and shellfish
- 3 - 5 tablespoons Old Bay
- 1/2 tablespoon black pepper
- 2/3 cups half-n-half
Melt butter in a 6 quart stock pot under medium high heat. Add chopped celery, onion, and carrots. Saute for 10 minutes until veggies start to soften. Add mushrooms.
Add flour to the cooking veggies and mix thoroughly. This is important, adding it now it will coat the veggies easily and when you add the liquid stock next, the soup will thicken as the liquid comes to boil, without clumping. After stirring in the flour, add stock and chicken broth. Mix it all together. Add chopped potatoes and yellow corn. Bring to boil, then turn it down to medium heat and continue to cook for another 10 minutes at a low boil. Add Old Bay and black pepper. If your seafood stock isn't very salty, you might add a little salt (taste first!), but my homemade seafood stock is always plenty salty from the mussels.
Add cubed fish/seafood, turn heat down to simmer. Add half-n-half, stir, then simmer for another 20 minutes.
Serve on its own or with bread for a simple, healthy 'one-pot' meal.