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New England Fish Chowder
Jackie Kennedy's Recipe

This classic New England fish chowder recipe was a favorite of one of Cape Cod's most beloved historic figures, Jacqueline Kennedy.

I found this 50+ year-old magazine clipping tucked into a cookbook I inherited from my mother-in-law, Grace. (I'm so glad she saved it!)

"This recipe, provided Reddy's News by Mrs. Jacqueline Kennedy, new first lady, is a favorite. It's a delightful dish your family might enjoy."

(Unknown Publication - ca. 1961)

Although the Mrs. Kennedy's recipe calls for haddock, any mild-flavored, firm white fish works equally well.

Do you have some black sea bass, tautog, or striped bass fillets from your day of fishing our Cape Cod waters? Nice catching! Any of those fish make a great chowder.

Did you reel in a big ol' bluefish? Ummmmm ... slap that one on the grill instead. Bluefish is much too "fishy" tasting for this chowder, IMHO.

Traditional New England Fish Chowder
"Cape Cod Style"

This recipe makes 6 servings.

To make a meal of it, ladle liberally into 4 portions, and serve with one of the "go with's" suggested below.

Hint: Not an angler? Visit a Cape Cod fish market for your main ingredient, and hit the farm stand or farmers market for the rest. You'll have a great outing - lots more fun than a trip to the grocery store!

Here's What You'll Need

  • 2 pounds haddock or other firm white fish
  • 2 ounces of salt pork (or thick-cut bacon)
  • 2 small onions
  • 4 large potatoes
  • 2 medium celery stalks
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 quart milk
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • ground black pepper, to taste

Get Everything Ready for the Pot

Pull out a sharp knife and dice your salt pork or bacon, slice the onions, peel and dice the potatoes (about 1/4" dice), and rough chop enough celery to make 1 cup chopped.

How to Make Your Fish Chowder: Step-by-Step

1. Simmer fish (low heat) in 2 cups water for 10-15 minutes.

2. Remove fish from water, and set aside the cooking broth.

3. Check fish for any lingering bones and remove them.

4. In a dutch over or other large pot, saute salt pork/bacon until crisp.

5. Remove salt pork/bacon from pot, and set aside on paper towel.

6. Saute onions in the salt pork/bacon fat until golden brown.

7. Add fish, diced potatoes, chopped celery, bay leaf, salt and petter to the pot.

8. Pour the fish broth into the pot, along with enough boiling water to make 3 cups (total) of liquid in the pot.

9. Simmer for 30 minutes on low heat.

10. Add milk and butter, and continue simmering for 5 minutes.

Suggested "Go With's"

Staying with the traditional Cape Cod theme, some of my favorite things to pair with homemade New England fish chowder are ...

Sweet-tart muffins speckled with ruby-red cranberries harvested from local bogs.

Corn bread made with freshly ground cornmeal from Dexter Grist Mill in Sandwich.


Related Pages:

Catch Your Own Blue Crab Feast

How to Handle and Cook Live Blue Crabs

Digging for Clams on Cape Cod

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