Comforting Fish Chowder


Cold winter weather often brings with it the hankering for warm, filling soups. One of my favorites has always been thick, creamy fish chowder typical of those served in New England. Chowders may feature corn, chicken, ham, fish or other seafood, such as clams or crab, but they all have some ingredients in common -- artery-clogging heavy cream and starchy white potatoes. This can make a single bowl pack in over 500 calories, more than half of them from fat (19 g of which are saturated). Not exactly the picture of health in my book.

Here's a different way to make this comforting soup without having to worry about the health of your heart.

I chose to use fish for its low-fat, high protein profile and the added benefit of omega-3 fatty acids. I've replaced the heavy cream with evaporated skim milk, which allows me to keep that creamy texture and calcium without the saturated fats. In order to add fiber, I left the skins on the potatoes and added broccoli. Skip the oyster crackers and serve with crusty whole wheat bread. This combination of fish, low-fat dairy and fiber makes a heartwarming treat that is also heart healthy and a great meal for your entire family.



  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 can (12 oz.) evaporated skim milk (add 1 tablespoon cornstarch for thicker soup)
  • 1 1/2 pounds cod, tilapia or other firm white fish fillets cut into two inch pieces
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • 2 cups frozen broccoli and/or cauliflower
  • 1 large Yukon Gold potatoes, cubed with the skins on
  • 2 cups clam juice
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1 medium onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil


Heat the oil in the bottom of a large pot (6 quarts) on medium heat. Saute the onion until softened (about 2 minutes). Add the wine and cook until reduced by half.

Add the clam juice, potatoes, thyme, and pepper (the potatoes should be just covered with liquid, if not, add water until they are). Cook, covered, until the potatoes are soft (about 10-15 minutes).

Add the fish, broccoli, and evaporated milk to the pot. Turn the burner to low and cook, uncovered, until the fish is cooked through (about 10 minutes). Watch the temperature to make sure the milk does not curdle -- you want it to be steamy, but not boiling.

Mix in the parsley and let the soup rest for 30 minutes before serving.