How to Make a Portuguese Fish Chowder (Two Different Ways)

Soup Recipes

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.

Portuguese fish chowder is a dairy-free version that includes chorizo sausage, spices, and of course, all the briny goodness of a typical seafood chowder.

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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!

Portuguese Fish Chowder (Tomato-Based)

Portuguese fish chowder is a dairy-free version that includes chorizo sausage, spices, and of course, all the briny goodness of a typical seafood chowder.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.

Portuguese Fish Chowder

Portuguese Fish Chowder (Tomato-Based)

Fish, fish broth, chorizo sausage, zingy spices and tomatoes are the defining features of this Portuguese-style chowder.

Course Main Course
Cuisine American, Portuguese
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 10
Author Craig Fear

Ingredients

  • 2 TBSPs olive oil
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, diced fine
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 fennel bulb, cored and diced
  • 3-4 stalks celery, diced
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice
  • 1 TBSP paprika, optional
  • 1/2 - 1 teaspoon chili powder, optional
  • pinch cayenne, optional
  • 6 cups fish broth
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 6 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 pounds yukon gold potatoes, peeled and diced into bite-sized cubes
  • 1 28 oz can whole tomatoes in juice diced, juice reserved
  • 3 chorizo links, sliced into ¼ inch thick rounds
  • Sea salt and pepper, to taste
  • ¼ cup fresh parsley chopped and packed
  • 2 pounds haddock, hake or cod diced into bite-sized pieces

Instructions

  1. Heat olive oil over medium heat in medium-sized stock pot.
  2. Add garlic and saute about 30 seconds, stirring frequently, until browned being careful not to burn.
  3. Add onion, fennel, celery, allspice, chili powder, paprika and cayenne and saute for 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until veggies are softened but not browned.
  4. Add fish broth, bay leaves, thyme sprigs and potatoes and simmer until potatoes are cooked through, about 10-15 minutes.
  5. Add the tomatoes and reserved juice and chorizo sausage and simmer for 5 more minutes.
  6. Taste and season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  7. Add parsley and stir.
  8. Add fish and simmer very gently for 5 minutes.

 

Portuguese Fish Chowder (Cream-Based)

Portuguese fish chowder is a dairy-free version that includes chorizo sausage, spices, and of course, all the briny goodness of a typical seafood chowder.

Portuguese Fish Chowder Cream Based

Portuguese Fish Chowder (Cream-Based)

This fish chowder also uses scallops and shrimp. Feel free to add any other types of seafood that your heart desires.

Course Main Course, Soup
Cuisine American, Portuguese
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 8
Author Craig Fear

Ingredients

  • 2 TBSP good quality butter 
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 links chorizo, diced into ¼ inch rounds
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1/2 teaspoon red chili pepper flakes, optional
  • pinch or two black pepper
  • 1 TBSP paprika
  • 1 cup good quality flour 
  • 1 lb. raw medium to large shrimp
  • 1 pound bay scallops
  • 1 lb. cod, hake or haddock, cut in bite-sized chunks
  • 3 cups fish broth or clam broth
  • ¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 pound potatoes, diced and cooked
  • 1 pint heavy cream
  • sea salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions

  1. Heat butter in medium-sized stock pot over medium heat. Add the celery, onions and chorizo and saute until veggies are softened, stirring frequently, about 5-7 minutes.
  2. Add white wine, pepper flakes, black pepper, paprika, and stir together. Lower heat and add flour and whisk to make a roux. Cook for about 5-7 minutes.
  3. Add broth and whisk vigorously until smooth and thickened. Add shrimp, scallops and fish and bring to a gently simmer for about 5-7 minutes until cooked through.
  4. Add parsley and cooked potatoes and stir together.
  5. Add heavy cream and stir. Add a little more or less cream to your heart's desired creaminess.
  6. Garnish with additional parsley and paprika. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

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Portuguese fish chowder is a dairy-free version that includes chorizo sausage, spices, and of course, all the briny goodness of a typical seafood chowder.

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About the Author

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.

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