Walleye seafood chowder

White bowl containing seafood chowder made with shrimp, crab, walleye, and vegetables in a golden broth.
Photo: Mary Bohling

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

  1. Warm the olive oil in a stockpot over medium heat.
  2. Add shrimp shells, onions, carrots, and celery and sauté for 15 minutes, or until lightly browned.
  3. Add garlic and cook 2 more minutes.
  4. Add 1 ½ quarts of water, white wine, tomato paste, salt, pepper, and thyme. Bring to a boil.
  5. Reduce heat and simmer for 1 hour.
  6. 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

  1. Cut all seafood into bite-sized pieces and set aside.
  2. In a heavy-bottomed pot, melt the butter over medium heat.
  3. Add carrots and potatoes and cook over medium-low heat for 5 minutes.
  4. Add onions, celery, and corn and cook for an additional 15 minutes, stirring occasionally until potatoes begin softening.
  5. Add flour, reduce heat to low, and cook for 3 minutes, stirring continuously.
  6. Add the seafood stock and bring to a boil.
  7. Add the seafood, reduce heat, and simmer (uncovered) for 7 minutes or until fish is just cooked.
  8. Add heavy cream (if using), parsley, and salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.

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