By Mary Bohling, Michigan Sea Grant Extension Educator in Southeast Michigan
Looking for a hot meal on a cold day? Try this yummy Seafood Chowder featuring Great Lakes walleye. Other fish can be substituted, but cooking times vary, so keep that in mind. I use walleye cheeks if we have them because their consistency is similar to scallops. I’ve included my recipe for homemade seafood stock, but store-bought stock is also fine.
Walleye seafood chowder
Ingredients for seafood stock (optional)
2 tablespoons olive oil
Shells from the shrimp used in the chowder
2 cups yellow onions, chopped
2 cups carrots, unpeeled and chopped
1 cup celery, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
¾ cup good white wine
½ cup tomato paste
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 ½ teaspoons fresh ground pepper
10 sprigs fresh thyme with stems (do not chop)
Ingredients for chowder
1 pound walleye
¾ pound peeled large shrimp (30-35 shrimp per pound); save the shells for seafood stock
½ pound scallops
½ pound lump crabmeat, removed from shells
½ pound unsalted butter
2 cups carrots, peeled and medium-diced
1 cup celery, medium-diced
1 ½ cups white or red potatoes, medium-diced
½ cup white onion, medium-diced
1 ½ cups corn kernels
3/8 cup all-purpose flour
1 ½ quarts seafood stock (see recipe above if making from scratch)
½ cup heavy cream (optional, but it’s delicious!)
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley (or 3/4 tablespoon dried parsley)
Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
Instructions for seafood stock
- Warm the olive oil in a stockpot over medium heat.
- Add shrimp shells, onions, carrots, and celery and sauté for 15 minutes, or until lightly browned.
- Add garlic and cook 2 more minutes.
- Add 1 ½ quarts of water, white wine, tomato paste, salt, pepper, and thyme. Bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat and simmer for 1 hour.
- Strain through a sieve (strainer with small mesh), pressing out the solids to yield about 1 ½ quarts of liquid. Add more wine or water to make up the difference, if needed.
Instructions for chowder
- Cut all seafood into bite-sized pieces and set aside.
- In a heavy-bottomed pot, melt the butter over medium heat.
- Add carrots and potatoes and cook over medium-low heat for 5 minutes.
- Add onions, celery, and corn and cook for an additional 15 minutes, stirring occasionally until potatoes begin softening.
- Add flour, reduce heat to low, and cook for 3 minutes, stirring continuously.
- Add the seafood stock and bring to a boil.
- Add the seafood, reduce heat, and simmer (uncovered) for 7 minutes or until fish is just cooked.
- Add heavy cream (if using), parsley, and salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.