Soups, Stews, & Chowders

Gloucester “Old Salt” Fish Chowder

This “old-salt” fish chowder recipe, thick with fish, potatoes, and bacon, is adapted from a 1976 Gloucester Fishermen’s Wives cookbook.

By Yankee Magazine

Apr 18 2022


Gloucester “Old Salt” Fish Chowder

Photo Credit : Michael Piazza

This old-fashioned fish chowder recipe, thick with fish, potatoes, and bacon, is adapted from the 1976 book The Taste of Gloucester: A Fisherman’s Wife Cooks.


6 to 8 servings


5 thick bacon slices, chopped
1 large onion, diced
2 teaspoons kosher or sea salt, plus extra to taste
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups water
3 medium-size ‘Yukon Gold’ potatoes, unpeeled, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/3 cup cream
1-3/4 cups milk
1-3/4-2 pounds white fish, such as hake or pollock, cut into 1-inch chunks
Garnishes: minced fresh chives, chopped bacon


In a Dutch oven over medium heat, cook bacon until crisp and browned, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove all but 3 tablespoons fat from pot. Remove half the bacon with a slotted spoon, leaving the remaining bacon in pot.

Reduce heat to medium-low, and add onion, salt, and pepper. Cook until onion pieces are golden, 12 to 15 minutes.

Add flour and stir.

Add water, whisking as you go; the flour will dissolve and the mixture will thicken a bit.

Add potatoes and cream, increase heat to medium, cover pot, and simmer until potatoes are barely tender, 6 to 8 minutes.

Reduce heat to low and add milk.

Add fish and cook until opaque, about 5 minutes.

Serve fish chowder sprinkled with chives and remaining bacon.