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Seafood Chowder

Outstanding, ancestral-based recipes brought to you by some of the masters (after your auntie, of course). Time to get cookin'!

Jodi Pudge for the book “Goodness”

This dish is a staple in our Feast hall, Potlach, and in Wet’suwet’en B’ahtlats. It is also a recipe our mother Rita George cooked very well. I grew up very traditionally and participated in the FEAST system. The clam chowder is very precious in our system and is one of the Chief’s favorites. It’s especially good when served with bannock and topped with traditional seaweed. Serves 6 to 8

INGREDIENTS

  • 8 cups fish stock or water
  • 1/2 cup bacon fat or butter
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 rib celery, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 large potato, diced
  • 1 medium carrot, diced
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • 1/3 lb fresh clams
  • 1/3 lb salmon, cubed
  • 1/3 lb red snapper, cubed
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup whipping (35%) cream
  • 2 tbsp. chopped fresh dill
  • 2 tbsp. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves

DIRECTIONS

1. In a large saucepan, bring stock to a boil.
2. Meanwhile, in a large heavy soup pot over medium-high heat, warm bacon fat. Add onion, celery, garlic, and bay leaf and sauté until onion is translucent, 3 to 4 minutes.
3. Add wine and cook, stirring to scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan, until liquid is reduced by half, about 5 minutes.
4. Add flour and cook, stirring constantly, until a thick paste (a roux) forms, about 2 minutes.
5. Slowly add hot stock to roux, stirring well to prevent lumps. Lower the heat to medium and bring to a simmer for 10 minutes.
6. Add potato, carrot, and bell pepper; simmer until vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes.
7. Add clams, salmon, and red snapper. Reduce heat to low and cook until fish is cooked through and tender, about 10 minutes. Discard bay leaf and any clams that have not opened. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
8. Remove from heat and stir in just enough cream to turn chowder white.
9. Just before serving, stir in fresh herbs.

Andrew George is an acclaimed chef dedicated to promoting healthy Indigenous food and its presence in mainstream cuisine. He has been a chef in top restaurants and resorts across the country and has mentored youth in many kitchens, most notably at the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Games. Andrew is the co-author of Feast for All Seasons: Traditional Native People's Cuisine and Modern Native Feasts. Andrew is all about healthy, innovative and sustainable cuisine.

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