Traditional Portuguese cuisine has melded into traditional New England cuisine in some very cool and creative ways along the southeastern coast of Massachusetts (and Rhode Island), where large numbers of Portuguese immigrants settled in the first half of the 20th century. The two Portuguese fish chowder recipes below are a great example of that.
The first one, a tomato-based Portuguese fish chowder (in the pic above) is what I believe is the more traditional version. I’m not 100% sure about that so if you know, please post a comment!
The second one, a cream-based version (with other types of seafood) more closely resembles a typical rich and creamy New England chowder.
Both are fantastic and both are united by the use of chorizo sausage, some spices that are a core part of Portuguese cuisine, and of course, all the briny goodness of a typical seafood chowder via the fish broth base. If you ‘re looking for a great dairy-free (and gluten-free) chowder, go with the tomato-based one. If you’re more inclined for the rich New England style, go with the creamy one.
Or try both!
I’ve adapted this recipe from chef Jasper White’s recipe for a South Coast Portuguese Fish Chowder which is in his fantastic book, 50 Chowders. If you love chowder this is the best resource all around resource out there. It’s just an awesome deep dive into the many incarnations of chowder all around the United States.
Yes, there’s a lot more types of chowders than just New England and Manhattan!
In particular I added some chili powder, some paprika and a pinch of cayenne for an extra kick of heat and spice. Simply omit these spices if you want. I also added some thyme sprigs and a chopped fennel bulb which I thought brought out some added depth of flavor in the soup base.
Fish, fish broth, chorizo sausage, zingy spices and tomatoes are the defining features of this Portuguese-style chowder.
This fish chowder also uses scallops and shrimp. Feel free to add any other types of seafood that your heart desires.
Craig Fear is the creator of Fearless Eating and the author of three books, The 30-Day Heartburn Solution, Fearless Broths and Soups and The Thai Soup Secret. After years helping clients with digestive issues, Craig decided to pursue writing full-time. He intends to write many more books on broths and soups from around the world! Click here to learn more about Craig.