The chowder enjoyed in the Pacific Northwest is similar to New England’s famouns chowder since they are both cream based. Milk and half and half are also used if you prefer a thinner broth. The thinner broth is preferred on the West Coast. This chowder is often made with razor clams, which are only found here, but I’ve substituted halibut which is more readily available. Others like to use canned clams. You could also add any number of seafood items if you like.
Pacific Coast Chowder
- 8 bacon stripes, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 stalk celery, chopped
- 32 ounces chicken broth
- 4 red potatoes, diced
- 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
- 1 pint half and half
- 1 pound halibut fillets, cubed
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon or 1 teaspoon dried tarragon
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Heat a large saucepan over medium heat. Cook the bacon until crisp. Remove from pan, leaving 1 tablespoon of the bacon fat and drain the bacon on paper toweling. Cook the onion and celery in the bacon fat until the onion is softened, about 5 minutes.
To the saucepan, add broth and potatoes. Bring mixture to a boil, cover, reduce heat and cook until the potatoes are just tender, about 15 to 20 minutes.
Combine the flour with the half and half until smooth. Gradually stir into the broth and potato mixture, increase heat until mixture is boiling, about 2 minutes.
Stir in the halibut and tarragon and season with salt and pepper. Return the bacon and reduce the heat to a simmer. Continue cooking, uncovered until the fish flakes easily with a fork, about 5 to 10 minutes.
Garnish with additional tarragon, if desired, and serve.