Julia’s Favorite Fish Chowder

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Julia’s Favorite Fish Chowder

Julia’s Favorite Fish Chowder
(Adapted from The Way to Cook by Julia Child. Alfred A. Knopf, New York, 1989.)
Julia blanches the salt pork first, and drains off most of the fat after it is browned in a little butter. Then she adds onions, crumbled crackers (in the style of the Try Pots, it seems), a liquid (clam-steaming juices and water, fish stock, or a light chicken stock), sliced potatoes, and milk or cream.

Yield: 6 to 8 servings


  • 4 ounces salt pork, diced small
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 large onions, sliced thin (about 3 cups)
  • bay leaf
  • 3/4 cup crumbled "common" crackers or pilot biscuit
  • 4 cups liquid: half clam-steaming juices, fish stock, or light chicken broth, and half water pound all-purpose potatoes, peeled and sliced (3 to 4 cups)
  • 2 cups milk or light cream
  • 2 to 2-1/2 pounds boneless and skinless lean fish (cod, hake, haddock, monkfish, halibut, ocean pollack, sea bass, catfish - all one kind or a mixture)
  • cut into 2-inch chunks


1. Heat 1 quart of water to boiling; add the salt pork and simmer 5 minutes. Drain in a sieve and rinse under cold water. Press dry with paper towels. Combine salt pork and butter in a large, broad pan and sauté over low heat until the pork has rendered its fat and begins to brown. Stir in the onions and bay leaf. Cover and cook until the onions are tender and translucent, 8 to 10 minutes. Set a strainer over a bowl and drain excess fat. Return onions to saucepan. Add the cracker crumbs and stir to blend.

2. Add the liquid of choice and the potatoes to the onions. Heat to boiling over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat and simmer loosely covered until the potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes.

3. Add the milk or cream and the chunks of fish. Cover and cook over low heat just until the fish turns from translucent to opaque, 2 to 3 minutes. Taste and correct seasonings.


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