Recipe | Seafood Chowder with Grilled Fennel & Basil

Sorry, I was off yesterday! It’s been a crazy busy week. For those that don’t know, part of my day job is a bookkeeper for a property management company and our yearly audit commences today, so my day yesterday was finalizing all required documents for the auditors. It’s great fun…. :s

That said, it’s out of my hands now, and I can look forward to our first night at the Vancouver International Wine Festival tonight! This year, the focus is Canadian wines! How cool is that? I cannot wait to sample some of the finest from across our beautiful country. So far, a highlight at the opening night was this sparkling wine from Nova Scotia! Crisp green apples and lemon – in a blind taste, I would’ve thought it was cider. But stay tuned, more to come as I select my favourites.

Seafood Chowder with Grilled Fennel & Basil**

Serves 4 – 6


  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 5 rashes bacon, diced
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 2 carrots, sliced into half moons
  • 2 celery stalks, sliced on a bias
  • 1/2 fennel bulb, grilled & diced
  • 2 Yukon Gold potatoes, diced
  • 1 Tbsp fresh thyme, minced
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 3 Tbsp AP flour
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • 1 cup clam juice
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 can clams
  • 6 oz. grilled sablefish, flaked – or your choice of white fish
  • 250 mL heavy cream
  • 1/2 tsp + freshly cracked black pepper
  • Coarse salt, to taste
  • Lemon wedge, to finish
  • Fresh basil, chiffonade, for garnish
  • Green onion, sliced, for garnish


In a large Dutch-oven type soup pot, heat olive oil on medium heat. Add in the bacon and render until almost crispy. Toss in onion, garlic, carrots, celery, fennel, potatoes, and thyme. Stir to combine, and sweat until onion are translucent and fragrant. 

Add in the butter, melt into the mixture. Then add in the flour. Toss to combine and cook for a minute or so, just to get rid of the floury flavour. Add in the white wine, stir again, and let the wine cook out for a minute or so. Pour in chicken stock, clam juice, and water – breaking to stir in between additions. 

Let cook for 20 minutes or so, just until the potatoes have cooked. Finish with the cream, clams and fish. Combine well, and taste. Definitely add in the pepper, and you may want a little more than 1/2 tsp. But go easy on the salt, as there is plenty of salt in clam juice – perhaps just a pinch. Finally, finish with fresh lemon wedge, squeezed into the soup. 

Serve immediately with fresh basil and green onion on top. 

Come to think of it, I wouldn’t say no to pairing the wine mentioned at the beginning of the post, with this recipe. It would be a great palate sweeper for the next bite of soup! Yum, yum. 

Happy Thursday, everyone! 

**Thank you to MM for creating this recipe with me. Your little additions here and there really make this soup sing. I love your creativity. <3


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