Winter Warmer Sunny Fish Chowder: A Light and Healthy Recipe


This fish soup makes for a great cold-weather meal. It’s good for you as well as tasty, using lighter ingredients than a classic fish chowder and also lots of healthy vegetables.

Winter Warmer Sunny FIsh Chowder

Winter Warmer Sunny FIsh Chowder

The other night I was planning on cooking a traditional Italian-style fish soup, when I realized I was out of tomatoes.  Since I’d already chopped my vegetables and defrosted my fish, I decided to try to make a fusion fish soup/fish chowder instead – which ended up leading to excellent results. The recipe that follows is a tasty amalgam of both classic fish recipes while still extremely healthy and light.

This fish soup can easily be modified according to the vegetables and fish you have on hand, although certain factors should be noted. The more variety of fish that you use, the more complex the flavor of your soup will be. A mixture of firm-fleshed white fish and shellfish is recommended, up to 2 pounds. I also like using a mixture of onions such as shallots, leeks, and sweet yellow onions, but it can be simplified to use whatever variety you have on-hand. The dried chili pepper can be omitted for a milder flavor, but I enjoy the spice and smokiness it adds to the final product. Also, the use of a yellow bell pepper keeps the soup bright and sunny in color, but of course red or orange peppers could be used instead.

Serve this soup with freshly made tortilla strips or crusty bread and a green salad for a complete meal. A crisp white wine with a touch of sweetness would pair well with this dish – use the same wine as you added to the simmering broth for the most harmonious taste.

Winter Warmer Sunny Fish Chowder

Serves 6


1 tablespoon olive oil
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 leek, washed, trimmed and minced
2 shallots, minced
1 dried chipotle (or other variety) chili pepper, crumbled
1 yellow bell pepper, diced
6 shitake mushrooms, sliced
1 tablespoon Italian parsley, chopped
4 small red potatoes, scrubbed and diced
Grated peel and juice of 1 lemon
1 cup white wine
8 oz clam juice
4 cups fish stock
1 pound white fish fillets, such as cod, haddock, halibut or pollock
1 pound shellfish such as shrimp, crab, scallops or lobster tail
12 oz frozen or canned corn
2 tbsp flour
1 cup skim milk
pinch cayenne pepper
salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste


Heat olive oil in a stock pot and add garlic and onions. Saute until softened, 2-3 minutes. Add the chili pepper, yellow bell pepper and mushrooms, and saute an additional 2 minutes. Add diced potatoes, wine, broth, clam juice, lemon juice and lemon rind. Allow to come to a boil and then reduce heat. Simmer for 25 minutes, or until potatoes are fork-tender.

Meanwhile, cut fish fillets into 1-inch pieces and if using crab or lobster, cut into similar small chunks. In a small bowl, mix flour into milk until smooth and blended. Once potatoes are tender, add fish, corn and flour/milk mixture. Bring up to heat and simmer for an additional 10 minutes, until fish is flaky and cooked through but not overdone. Adjust seasoning with salt, black pepper and cayenne pepper to taste.

Spoon into serving bowls and serve with accompaniments of choice.

Nutritional information: 367 calories, 6.5 g fat, 29 g carbohydrates, 1.8 g fiber, 41.3 g protein based on calculations using sparkpeople’s recipe calculator.

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