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An Old Recipe for Fish Chowder

A Chowder is a satisfying thick fish soup that is said to have taken it's name from the large, French, three-legged iron cooking pot known as a "chaudiere". The term is generally applied, here in Ireland, to the classical thick & creamy dish, but the actual Chowder can vary enormously.

There are many styles of making Chowder from the French brasserie style, the traditional cream-based one (which is internationally known as a New England style) to the tomato-based Manhattan style and many other regional variations in between! In truth, this now international fish dish is totally unpretentious and is flexible in it's use of ingredients. There are no fast rules!

The three-legged iron cooking pot known as a "Chaudiere"

I found this poem by 'Author Unknown' in an old book and wanted to share it...

"To Make a Good Chowder"
To make a good Chowder and have it quite nice
Dispense with sweet marjoram, parsley and spice:
Mace, pepper and salt are now wanted alone.
To make the stew eat well and stick to the bone,
Some pork is sliced thin and put into the pot;
Some say you must turn it, some say you must not;
And when it is brown, take it out of the fat,
And add it again when you add this and that.
A layer of potatoes, sliced quarter inch thick, 
Should be placed in the bottom to make it eat slick;
A layer of onions now over this place,
Then season with pepper and salt and some mace.
Split open your crackers and give them a soak;
In eating you'll find this the cream of the joke.
On top of all this, now comply with my wish
And put in large chunks, all your pieces of fish;
Now put on the pieces of pork you have fried
I mean those from which all the fat has been tried.
In seasoning I pray you, don't spare the cayenne;
'Tis this makes it fit to be eaten by men.
After adding these things in their regular rotation
You'll have a dish fit for the best of the nation!

This old recipe's method, based on de-coding the poem, goes something like this!

1. Fry off some bacon till crispy. Remove and leave aside.
2. In the bacon fat, brown off some chunky-cut potatoes and sliced onions.
3. Season with pepper, salt & mace. (that bit was easy!)
4. Cut open some bread rolls into pieces and add to the pot. Cover with cream or milk.
5. Add your fish, cut in bite-size, and the crispy bacon strips.
6. Sprinkle in a generous amount of cayenne pepper and cook until the potato is soft.

This says 1834 but the recipe most certainly dates from before that!

I'm going to have to just try this out because it really does sound quite delicious!

Don't forget to Feed the Fish at the bottom of this Post!

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