The name chowder comes from the French chaudière, a cauldron used by fishermen to make stews with their daily catch. This New England-inspired version simmers Pacific cod in a rich, flavorful base of wine, vegetable stock, and clam juice—then pairs the creamy, hearty soup with a side of delectable garlic bread.
1 yellow onion
1 russet potato
⅛ ounce thyme
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
2 tablespoons flour
¼ cup white wine
8 ounces vegetable stock
¼ cup clam juice
1 clove garlic
1 ciabatta bread
10 ounces cod
3 tablespoons heavy cream
8″ medium pot with lid
Mince the garlic as finely as possible before you sprinkle it onto your ciabatta. Doing so helps to infuse the flavor with the butter as the bread toasts.
Your cod is finished cooking when it flakes easily with a fork. USDA recommends cooking fish to 145°F.
Preheat oven to 400°F. Peel onion and cut into small dice. Rinse potato and cut into ½-inch dice. Strip thyme leaves, discarding stems.
Set aside 1 tablespoon butter to soften at room temperature, and heat remaining butter in a medium pot over medium-high heat. When butter in pan is foamy, add onion, potato, and thyme. Season with ¼ teaspoon salt and sauté, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are softening, about 5 minutes. Stir in flour until no longer visible, 1-2 minutes more.
Add white wine, vegetable stock, clam juice, and 1 cup water to pot with vegetables, season with ¼ teaspoon salt, and stir to combine. Increase heat to high and bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium and simmer, stirring occasionally, until chowder has thickened, about 6 minutes. Remove from heat until Step 5.
While chowder simmers, mince garlic (see Recipe Tip). Halve ciabatta bread lengthwise. Spread reserved butter over cut sides and sprinkle minced garlic on top. Place cut-side up on a baking sheet, transfer to oven, and toast until golden, 7-10 minutes.
While ciabatta toasts, pat cod dry with paper towel and season all over with ½ teaspoon salt and pepper. Return pot to medium heat and add cod, nestling into chowder. Cover, increase heat to medium high, and simmer until cod is opaque, 5-7 minutes (see Recipe Tip). Then, uncover, stir in cream, and season with ½ teaspoon salt and pepper. Cook to warm through, 1 minute more. Remove pot from heat and, using a spoon, break cod into large pieces.
Serve chowder with garlic bread for dipping, and dig in!