It was overcast and cool with a little rain thrown in here and there for good measure. Just the kind of day one likes for whipping up a nice New England Fish Chowdah. Maybe I should say a Patterson Special Fish Chowdah; after all, it is my own created recipe based primarily on my dad’s. Anyhow, I will share the basic recipe with you, however, I admit that there is one ingredient missing that makes it a signature Patterson chowdah but, it will still be ummm, ummm, goood none the less.
- 2 - pounds fresh Maine Haddock (if you can't get fresh Maine haddock, frozen cod or any other white fish will do – just not as tasty)
- 4 - medium sized fresh Maine 'Taters – diced (if you can’t get fresh Maine taters then others will do – just not as tasty)
- 2 – medium fresh Maine yellow onions - diced (if you can’t get fresh Maine yellow onions then others will do – just not as tasty)
- 1/2 - pound salt pork - diced
- 1 and 1/2 - cups chicken broth (you can use water instead)
- 2 - 12 oz cans of Evaporated Milk
- 1/4 - pound of unsalted butter (one stick)
- Salt and Pepper to taste (I use about a tspn of salt and 1/4 tspn pepper)
- And the main ingredient – Time (take your time and don’t rush the process – be sure to control your heat and slow cook the ingredients)
First, dice the salt pork and fry it in the soup pot. Once the "pork scraps" are crisp remove them from the pot and hold them aside. Now sauté the diced onions in the salt pork fat (should be at least 3 tablespoons full, if not add a little EVOO to make up the difference) - they should be golden but not browned. Add the chicken broth and diced 'Taters. Boil for about 15 minutes or until the taters are soft in the middle (don't hard boil, don't want your taters mushy). Then add the 2 cans of Evaporated Milk, the Butter, and the “pork scraps” and continue cooking for a few minutes until nice and hot - NEVER boil the chowdah from this point on. Add salt and pepper to taste and then add the fish and continue cooking for about 15 to 30 minutes, again be sure NOT to boil the chowdah (if you prefer a little more liquid in your chowdah then you can add some whole milk). Once the fish is tender and breaks apart remove the chowdah from the heat and allow it to stand covered for several hours; then reheat to serve. It's best if it cools and you let it sit over night in the refrigerator then heat it up to serve the next day - but who has that kind of patience? So I always make extra so we can enjoy it for a couple of days. This recipe will provide six serving.
We had invited Bill and Kym to dinner but, Kym was feeling “under the weather” so she stayed home in order not to infect the rest of us. It was a good decision but, we missed her none the less. We had a good time reminiscing with Bill about our childhood; as many of you know, I grew up on the farm in the city. That was Bill and Pete’s parents farm (Pete and my brother are the same age and were also best buddies during our school days).
Along with the fish chowdah we had a nice fresh garden salad with a ginger dressing, and some warm whole wheat bread. Dessert was a delicious homemade raspberry pie made by none other than my brother Mike. Yep, the Patterson brothers could open their own restaurant, however, they would most likely eat up all the profits.
The sun is rising this morning with no plans on the agenda for the day but, I can assure you that we’ll find some mischief to get into so, in the meantime, we hope you have a nice day as well.