Divided BY Chowder

Celebrating Chef George's 25th Anniversary on PBS

If there is one thing I have learned as a chef there as many versions of chowder recipes as there are people who enjoy this soup, err..I mean stew..no I think soup?  

George Hirsch Chowder

Each of my cookbooks and TV series has a version of some sort of a chowder recipe. I have judged chowder contests, participated in chef chowder tastings, and been a referee at a few chowder-boxing matches. Well, not really, but people do get heated up over red or white chowder. 

What really is chowder? The word "chowder" comes from the French word chaudiere, or caldron, the vessel in which the dish was cooked. And, derives from the word "jowter," meaning fishmonger, a term that was used in 16th century coastal regions of England.

George Hirsch Seafood

Is it a soup or stew? Early versions of chowder simmered from the New England area and was basically a frugal recipe of pork fat, onions, potatoes, fish, herbs, dry biscuits or flour for thickening, layered in a pot and cooked in water, with a little milk added at the end. In the 1800’s the Manhattan clam chowder was notable because it contains tomatoes. James Beard described Manhattan clam chowder "that rather horrendous soup called Manhattan clam chowder resembles a vegetable soup that accidentally had some clams dumped into it." All respect Mr. Beard, but those are fighting words. As a New Yorker and from coastal Long Island, an East Ender we take our chowder VERY serious. See, how a discussion on chowder can turn into a sparring match.

Tomato-based clam chowders came about with the newfound popularity of the tomato in the mid-1800s with the large population of Italians and Portuguese in New York and Rhode Island region. Still, there is no chowder harmony. In 1939, Maine legislators introduced a bill outlawing the use of tomatoes in chowder because it is far more of a vegetable soup. What? 

I can end this entire soup divide right now. Aside from any vegetables, corn, chicken or other non-seafarer ingredient for the stew--here are three versions you can enjoy from my TV series and cookbooks. They have satisfied many and with hope can prevent a nation from future chowder conflict. 

Manhattan vs. New England Chowder N.E. not my fav..

Seafood Chowder Yes, now this is a stew!

Quantity:
Add to Cart

Seafood Chowder, as seen on George Hirsch Lifestyle

My inspiration for this chowder is living so close to the water with an abundance of fresh seafood to choose from. The nice part of this recipe is it's versatility. The first part of the chowder is a rich tomato broth base, and the second part is adaptable to allow you to swap out any of the seafood based on seasonal availability and your own personal preference.

George_Hirsch_Lifestyle_Seafood_Chowder_T .png

Seafood Chowder

Makes 6-8 servings

chefgeorgehirsch.com | George Hirsch Lifestyle TV series

1 Tablespoon olive oil

1/2 cup sweet onion, chopped 

1/4 cup fennel, chopped 

3 cloves garlic, chopped

1/4 cup carrots, choppd

2 cups yukon potatoes, scrubbed and diced into 1/2 pieces 

2 cups fresh plum tomatoes, deseeded and chopped or 1 (28 ounce can chopped San Marzano tomatoes)

2 cups vegetable or fish broth

1 teaspoon dried basil

George_Hirsch_Lifestyle_Seafood Chowder.png

"now that's a chowder" on set George Hirsch Lifestyle

For the seafood:

1 dozen fresh little neck clams

1/2 pound fresh cod, cut into one inch pieces 

1/4 pound calamari, cleaned and cut into thin rings 

1 pound mussels, cleaned

a few leaves of fresh flat leaf parsley, basil and oregano

fresh ground pepper to taste 

Pre heat a large soup pot to medium temperature. Add olive oil and onions, fennel, carrots, and garlic until tender. Add tomatoes, broth, potatoes, and dried basil. Bring to a boil, then lower to simmer for 10 minutes. Add clams and cod fish, gently simmer for 10 minutes. Add fresh basil, parsley, mussels and cook for 3-5 minutes or until mussels open.  

Add fresh ground black pepper to taste & serve immediately. 

Quantity:
Add to Cart