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Gloucester "Old Salt" Fish Chowder

Gloucester “Old Salt” Fish Chowder
19 votes, 4.00 avg. rating (79% score)
by in Jan 2013
Gloucester "Old Salt" Fish Chowder

Total Time: 45

Yield: 6 to 8 servings

This recipe is adapted from the 1976 book The Taste of Gloucester: A Fisherman's Wife Cooks, which may be ordered at the Gloucester Fishermen's Wives Web site: The ingredients are simple, but patient cooking will yield delicious flavor.


  • 5 thick bacon slices, chopped
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 teaspoons kosher or sea salt, plus extra to taste
  • 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups water
  • 3 medium-size 'Yukon Gold' potatoes, unpeeled, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1/3 cup cream
  • 1-3/4 cups milk
  • 1-3/4-2 pounds white fish, such as hake or pollock, cut into 1-inch chunks
  • Garnishes: minced fresh chives, chopped bacon


In a Dutch oven over medium heat, cook bacon until crisp and browned, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove all but 3 tablespoons fat from pot. Remove half the bacon with a slotted spoon, leaving the remaining bacon in pot. Reduce heat to medium-low, and add onion, salt, and pepper. Cook until onion pieces are golden, 12 to 15 minutes. Add flour and stir. Add water, whisking as you go; the flour will dissolve and the mixture will thicken a bit. Add potatoes and cream, increase heat to medium, cover pot, and simmer until potatoes are barely tender, 6 to 8 minutes. Reduce heat to low and add milk. Add fish and cook until opaque, about 5 minutes.
Serve chowder sprinkled with chives and remaining bacon.

Updated Wednesday, August 14th, 2013

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6 Responses to Gloucester “Old Salt” Fish Chowder

  1. Anonymous January 5, 2013 at 7:20 pm #

    An easy recipe– the slow cooking is really important in bringing out the flavors of the ingredients, since the recipe calls for so few. I found that my potatoes needed even longer to cook than the recipe recommends (much longer than 6-8 mins), and I might use more cream and less milk next time (the broth had great flavor but was a bit thin). Overall, though, this was a great chowder recipe that is basically foolproof.

  2. Anonymous February 17, 2013 at 9:44 pm #

    made this recipe tonight for dinner. I used a bit more bacon and used skim milk instead of whole(my family likes skim) plus I put more milk in because I like my chowder more “soupy” than traditional chowder. I loved it that way! I would agree with the other review that the potatoes need more cooking time than is indicated. Or, the pieces need to be cut smaller.

    • Ma Pickle March 13, 2014 at 11:27 pm #

      Skim milk in chowder? You might as well put tomatoes in it.

  3. Karen M Nadow September 27, 2013 at 10:47 am #


    Saw this recipe yesterday and it was a cool, cloudy day in The Northeast Kingdom of Vermont, on the Canadian Border, so I went to Shaw’s and purchased the fish (I used Cod, which was delicious) I used light cream and whole milk. Found it to be “just right” in consistency. Added a little onion powder for a more robust flavor? Used our own lovely fingerling potatoes. Next time, maybe a few less, as my Husband complained there were “too many” ? He complains about most anything so don’t feel bad. As older citizens, our taste buds are not what they should be, so maybe a little garlic next time with the onion! Many thanks for sharing the grand recipe. Sincerely, Karen

    PS: LOVE Yankee Magazine! Even send it as a gift to a former Vermonter, now transplanted to N.C.

  4. Donna St.Onge January 22, 2014 at 11:50 am #

    I have made this a number of times and love it. It is wonderful on a cold winters day like we have been having. Wonderful!

  5. ron March 14, 2014 at 7:53 am #

    tryed this recipe, first time chowder a bit thin for my liking of a chowder. Potatos needed a bit longer to cook still a bit hard. Second time I made this used it as a base for a Seafood chowder, I changed the milk to half and half, left all other items as is, then added 1 # haddock, 1/2 # shrimp, and 1/2 # bay scallops , made for a great chowder.

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