Growing up I ate Nova Scotia seafood chowder probably once a week, usually on Fridays. It’s not only something you eat at home but it’s a mandatory menu item in restaurants as well. Maritimers love to discuss which restaurants have the best bowls and friends share their secret touches. If you can’t decide between a sandwich or chowder fear not, you can always order half a sandwich with a cup of chowder instead of a bowl.
Outsiders think the secret to great chowder is fresh seafood, but that’s accessible everywhere. In fact if you pop into any grocery store and head to the seafood counter you’ll find “chowder mix” which are the trimmings of seafood for the day. A mixed bag of seafood you can cut your time and expenses in half by buying one of these. Sadly chowder mix not exist in Toronto.
Nova Scotia Seafood Chowder
Restaurants often use bacon or pancetta and cream to win diners over. I would definitely put a bit of pancetta in it at home but I like to lighten up my home version with whole milk instead. You could also use 2% milk but not skim milk, it’s just not thick enough.
- 1 large potato, diced
- 1 lb chowder mix
- 1 celery stalk, diced
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 1 carrot, shredded (my mother hates carrot so I have to sneak it)
- 2.5 cups homogenized milk
- ⅛ cup of flour
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 tablespoon Old Bay seasoning
- 1 tsp cornstarch mixed in ½ cup water
- In a pot saute onion, celery, carrot in butter for 2 minutes over medium heat.
- Add potato and cook 1 minute.
- Add old bay seasoning and cook an additional minute.
- Add chowder mix and toss ⅛ cup of flour to coat.
- Add 1 cup water and put lid on for 5 minutes.
- Remove lid, add milk and cornstarch/water mixture.
- Bring to a boil and simmer 5 minutes.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve warm.
I made this for my family last night. My grandmother leaned in mid-way through her chowder and told me mine was better. Little did she know the chowder she made me as a child was an inspiration for my own.