We made this creamy fish chowder with a firm white fish - Sheepshead. The tender potatoes and corn add bulk and additional nutritional value to the dish while the thick cream, sauteed leeks and celery, clam juice, broth, herbs, and seasoning, adds an incredible boost of flavor that’ll make it hard to resist a bowl of this chowder!
❤️ Why you'll love this recipe
- This fish chowder is a straightforward seafood chowder - a great way to use up any leftover white fish filets in your fridge!
- This chowder is thick and creamy with chunks of healthy veggies and flaked fish, making it the perfect hearty meal for those cold winter nights.
- Make this delicious fish chowder from scratch in just 30 minutes - perfect for busy midweek meals.
If you’ve never made seafood chowder before, this is the one you’ll want to try! It’s easily adaptable with simple ingredient swaps that the whole family will love.
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Note: The full list of recipe ingredients with their amounts and options are in the recipe card below.
- Sheepshead or cod fillets -- use any other mild firm flesh fish.
- chicken broth -- may substitute vegetable broth
- clam juice
- hot pepper flakes
- red potatoes
- unsalted butter
- all-purpose flour
- whole milk
- bay leaf
- heavy cream
- fresh dill
- lemon juice
- salt and pepper
Note: This is an overview of the instructions. The full instructions are in the recipe card below.
- Cut fish into chunks and set aside.
- In a large Dutch oven, melt butter and add leeks and celery.
- Cook veggies for 5-6 minutes.
- Add flour.
- Cook for 2 minutes.
- Slowly whisk in milk, broth, clam juice, hot pepper flakes, salt, pepper.
- Bring the mixture to a simmer.
- Add the potatoes and bay leaf, and simmer gently for 10-12 minutes.
- Add the sheepshead and corn in the last 2 minutes of simmering.
- Add cream.
- Add dill and lemon juice. Cook for an additional 2 minutes.
- Season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper or extra red pepper flakes.
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You’ll need the following items to make this recipe successfully.
- This is the exact size Dutch Oven we use all the time. Its home is on our stove top. If we aren't making soup we're using it for some other dish.
- Sharp knife
- Cutting board
- Liquid measuring cup
- Measuring spoons
- Dry measuring cups
Questions asked about making our Sheepshead Chowder recipe.
Clam chowder is simply a type of seafood chowder (a seafood stew that’s thickened with cream). A seafood chowder can include clam, lobster, or fish.
A chowder is similar to a stew in that it is rich and thick with chunks of seafood and vegetables, whereas not all soups are rich and thick. Soups are typically thinner in consistency and less rich.
Seafood chowder is North American cuisine from French and British immigrants in the 18th century!
Seafood chowder can be thickened with heavy cream or a cornstarch or flour roux.
- For even cooking, make sure to cut the fish into uniform pieces. Larger pieces of fish take longer to cook.
- Don’t use very lean fish such as tuna or swordfish as they won’t flake well. You should also stay clear of very delicate fish such as sole and flounder that will disintegrate.
- The key to a great seafood chowder like this fish chowder is to cook the fish very gently so that the meat flakes apart.
- Fresh fish provides the best flavor and texture but you may also use frozen fish filets.
- We used Sheepshead in the original recipe but you can use other firm types of fish. Here are some examples: Snapper, barramundi, tilapia, basa, cod, ling, monkfish, marlin, latchet (gurnard), leatherjacket, Spanish mackerel, shark (flake), haddock, and salmon.
- For added flavor, consider topping each serving with cooked bacon pieces in addition to the dill and pepper.
- Yukon gold potatoes are a great alternative to red potatoes.
- You may add extra veggies such as carrots and peas to this fish chowder. Add the carrots with the potatoes but only add peas when you add the corn.
- If you wish, use vegetable instead of chicken broth. You can also increase the clam juice and omit the broth.
Once completely cooled, store any leftover chowder in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3-4 days. Reheat the chilled chowder over a gentle heat on the stovetop, stirring regularly.
I don’t recommend freezing this fish chowder due to the creamy ingredients which could cause the thick soup-like mixture to separate.
📗 Related Recipes
If you love tender flaky fish, take a look at some of these meal ideas:
- Lime Herb Grilled Halibut - This grilled fish provides a healthy and delicious meal, marinated in a spicy herbal marinade!
- Parmesan Broiled Flounder - The natural flavor of this mild fish really shines through in this recipe. Parmesan, butter, mayo, and green onion tops the fish.
- Mediterranean Cod - The sunny Mediterranean region inspired this one-pan seafood dish. It’s packed with bright yellow and orange peppers, sweet grape or cherry tomatoes, rich Kalamata olives and briny capers and Feta Cheese.
🍽 Serve with
Serve your fish chowder in a regular soup bowl or a bread bowl. You can also enjoy a serving of this chowder with garlic bread or freshly baked dinner rolls.
What is sheepshead?
You might ask,"Sheepshead! What can I do with that funny looking fish that looks like a zebra?"
There is quite a bit that can be done since it is a very mild, firm-fleshed fish. You can use it for:
- a fish chowder.
- bake it.
- fry it.
- use it for sashimi.
We decided to make a recipe for fish chowder but later we'll post the secret to frying the best, the crunchiest fish or chicken you ever ate.
Yes, we're bragging! But it's THAT good!
Fish chowder is just one soup in our roster
We enjoy making soups. They are satisfying nourishing, and economical. You can take a piece of meat and add barley some liquid to it and you have an old-fashioned stick to the ribs Beef Barley soup.
And if you don't have time you can purchase a rotisserie chicken and make soups in no time like Roasted Chicken with Vegetable Soup and Chicken Spinach Tortellini Soup.
Don't let the list of ingredients of this seafood chowder scare you! The Sheepshead Fish Chowder goes quickly and it's a matter of just tossing them in. After all, the entire recipe takes 30 minutes.
You can't go wrong with a spicy fish chowder!
Next time try our Louisiana Seafood Gumbo Recipe made with Shrimp.
📞 Chiacchierata (chat)
Sheepshead Fish Chowder is the first recipe we posted on All Our Way. We thought it would be great to bring it forward and update the instructions and photos. This recipe makes a fantastic seafood chowder plus it's very easy to make. With colder weather approaching this is a hearty satisfying soup. Try it -- we guarantee you'll love this fish chowder recipe as much as we do.
Tutti a tavolo, è pronto!
What's new? Check out my All Our Way Store on Amazon. We'll be adding more items we love and use or wish we had to make cooking fun and easy.
📝 Recipe Card
This Sheepshead Fish Chowder is a rich and creamy seafood chowder made with firm white fish, tender vegetables, herbs, and spices. Milk, heavy cream, and flour thicken the soup to make it a hearty and flavorful meal.
Next time you're craving a rich and creamy soup, try our Creamy White Lasagna Soup Recipe. It tastes just like an Alfredo lasagna in soup form.
Sheepshead (Fish) Chowder with Leeks, Fresh Dill and Lemon
- 1 ½ pounds fresh sheepshead fillets or any firm-fleshed white fish
- ½ cup chicken broth
- 2 8- oz bottles clam juice
- ½ teaspoon Italian hot pepper flakes
- sea salt and pepper to taste
- 2 small red potatoes diced in ½ inch pieces about 1 ½ cups ( no need to peel)
- 2 medium leeks white and light green parts only, halved lengthwise, rinsed well and thinly sliced (about 1 cup)
- 2 large ribs celery thinly sliced, about ¾ cup
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- ½ cup all purpose flour
- 2 cups whole milk
- 1 bay leaf
- ½ cup heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- ½ cup corn (optional)
- Cut fish into chunks and set aside.
- In a large Dutch oven, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the leeks and celery, and cook stirring, until veggies are tender, about 5 to 6 minutes. Add the flour and cook, stirring for about 2 minutes. You don't want the "raw" taste of flour.
- Slowly whisk in the milk, broth, clam juice, hot pepper flakes, salt, pepper, and bring to a simmer. Add the potatoes and bay leaf, simmer gently until the potatoes are tender, about 10 to 12 minutes. The last two minutes of simmering add the sheepshead and the corn.
- Finally add the cream, dill, and lemon juice, and cook until heated through, about 2 minutes. Season with the sea salt and the freshly ground black pepper or additional red pepper flakes.
- Delicious served with crusty Artisan bread.
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