- 4 cups seafood stock or chicken stock (32 ounces)
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
- 4 slices smoky bacon, finely chopped
- 1 onion, chopped
- 4-5 ribs celery hearts with leafy tops, finely chopped
- 2 starchy potatoes, peeled and chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 2 fresh bay leaves
- 2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves, chopped or 2 teaspoons dried thyme
- 3 ears corn, kernels removed or 2 cups frozen kernels, defrosted
- 2 pounds haddock
- 1 tablespoon seafood seasoning, such as Old Bay seasoning
- 1 cup whole milk
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons chives, chopped (optional)
- 2 tablespoons dill leaves, chopped (optional)
- 1 lemon, zested (optional)
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Oyster crackers, to pass at table
- Hot sauce, to pass at table
Heat the stock in small pot over medium heat.
In a large soup pot over medium to medium-high heat, add the EVOO, one turn of the pan. Add the bacon and cook for a couple of minutes to brown, then add the onion, celery, potatoes, garlic, bay leaves, thyme and corn. As you chop and add items to the pot, keep the pot covered so that the vegetables sweat faster and the heat stays trapped in the pot.
Once all of the vegetables are chopped and into the soup pot, add the hot stock and bring to boil; it should happen almost immediately. Season the haddock with the seafood seasoning. Add the haddock, cover the pot and reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook the fish for 5-6 minutes, then uncover and gently break up the haddock into chunks. Stir to combine, then add the milk, cream and butter. Simmer and reduce for 5-6 minutes more.
While the chowder is reducing, combine the chives, dill and lemon zest in a small bowl as an optional garnish for the soup. Taste the soup and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Remove the bay leaves, ladle the soup into serving bowls and serve with crackers, hot sauce, and the herb-lemon mixture, if desired.