Chowder is a thick, chunky seafood soup commonly associated with clam chowder. Chowder can be made with a variety of seafood and vegetables. Although this dish is great during the Lenten season, your family will be asking for it beyond Lent. Cilantro is an essential ingredient to this recipe, so please do not leave it out. This chowder makes a lovely presentation and can be served over rice or in a bowl by itself.
3 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 bay leaves
2 teaspoons paprika (smoked or sweet)
1 small onion, diced
1 small green bell pepper, diced
2 stalks celery, thinly sliced
2 cups carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
2 cups diced potatoes
2 (14.5-ounce) cans Italian diced tomatoes, do not drain
4 cloves garlic, minced, you can add less if you want
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/2-1 teaspoon dried oregano, more if desired
1/2-1 teaspoon dried thyme, more if desired
1-2 teaspoons dried Italian seasoning, more if desired
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
Red pepper flakes, to taste, optional
2 1/4 cups chicken stock, canned or homemade, add more if needed
Splash of your favorite white wine, optional
1 1/2 pounds skinless tilapia, cod, halibut, red snapper or your favorite fish, cut into 2-inch chunks
1/2-1 pound prepared shrimp, optional
4 slices crusty garlic French or Italian bread, toasted, optional
Note: This soup is liquid-y; you can serve it over rice or you can add a tablespoon or two of corn starch mixed with warm water, chicken or fish stock to thicken it.
Note: For a change-of-pace, you can substitute fillets of haddock, catfish or striped bass.
Note: You can also add a little kick to this stew by adding cumin or chipotle chili powder.
Note: Sometimes I have added shredded cheese, sliced avocado, and green onions right on top of the stew just before serving.