I learnt this easy seafood chowder from watching Masterchef Australia. Fleur Sullivan, the chef, is from NZ!
This seafood chowder is made with roux, a mixture of flour and butter. I’ve modified this recipe a bit to reduce the amount of butter to make it lighter. You can pretty much add any seafood in as you like, using any in season, fresh produce you can find locally. Choose a firm type of fish, like Hapuka, which is a grouper in NZ. You can also use little neck clams, scallops or mussels.
1 onion, diced
2 carrots, diced
2 sticks celery, diced
150g plain flour
100ml white wine
140g tomato paste (equivalent to 1 tub of tomato paste)
2 litres seafood* or fish stock, warmed
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
2 bay leaves
Celery stalk, 10cm piece
1 stalk fresh thyme
300g Harpuka or Basa, diced
20 prawns, shelled and deveined
2 squid tube, cleaned and scored, cut int strips
*The seafood stock is one I’ve made earlier with the heads of scampi heads boiled down with “the holy trinity” vege trio – onions, carrots and celery (Mirepoix in French). This vegetable mix is a very common starter for soups and stews. They are usually finely diced and then sautéed in oil or butter.
In a large heavy based saucepan melt butter and add diced vegetables. Sweat for a few minutes but do not allow to colour.
Add the flour and cook for 2 minutes or until mixture has a sandy texture.
Slowly pour in the wine and tomato paste and bring together as it thickens to remove all the lumps.
Add the warmed stock slowly, stirring continuously, and drop in the herbs and spices.
Allow the chowder to come to the boil, and stir to keep the ingredients from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
Add all the fish and shellfish and simmer until the shells begin to open and the fish is cooked through.
Serve with sourdough or ciabatta.