Thursday, July 14, 2011

Road Tripping Recipe: Fish Chowder in Grand Manan New Brunswick

Here we are in Grand Manan, an island in the Bay of Fundy New Brunswick, home of my ancestors and the highest tides in the world.  It’s truly one of the most amazing places in the world and we’re so happy to be back and to show Rebecca one of our very favourite places.  Before my mother would “let” Ryan marry me he had to visit and for the past 5 years we’ve been trying to get back.

I’ve already eaten some pretty great chowder here on the island, both at the Compass Rose where it comes with a spoonful of butter and a view of seals and at Gallaway’s with Winifred (pictured above), my 1st cousin thrice removed.  Both were delicious, but there’s just enough time to make a pot of my own before we go. Especially since we have such a well equipped kitchen here at our little rented creekside cottage in North Head.

We’ve actually had a hard time getting the fish this visit.  The main reason is that most of the fish caught here is “exported” to mainland and the residents are not really big fish buyers as they generally catch what they need (or their neighbours do) and have a deep freezer full.  Also this is a very small place without many shops, our fish typically comes from the back of this clothing store.  That said although most of the seafood here is farmed or trapped, there are rumblings of past over fishing and trawling and normally we would have found a nice piece of haddock or halibut on day two, not day 5 of our visit. All in all, grocery shopping on an isolated island has its challenges.

This is how my mother and I make chowder.  On firm instruction from the New Brunswick Aunts and Cousins.

Onions 1 per serving 
Potatoes 1 per serving 
Fish that starts with H (Halibut, Haddock) 1 piece per person, in this case 3
2 tablespoons of Butter
1 Bay Leaf
Salt & pepper
Boiling water
Corn 1 cob or ½ cup of frozen
Can of evaporated milk 
Dulse (totally optional but completely delicious)

Start by putting the kettle on to boil.
Add all ingredients into a thick bottomed soup pot.

Chop up your onions finely. These ones are from Nova Scotia, about as local as you can when you are on a rock in the Atlantic. Fry them up in butter until transparent.

Chop your fish up into inch cubes. Throw it in on top of your onions.  We're using 3 pieces of gorgeous  fresh Haddock from Newton's in Grand Harbour.

Slice up your potatoes and throw them in.  We think these are New Brunswick potatoes but the labelling didn't make any sense what so ever. 

Cover with the now boiling water from your kettle and add salt and pepper (and a bay leaf if you are not on vacation and don't have any).

Bring to a boil and then simmer for 25 minutes. Keep your pot simmering while you add the final ingredients.

Now add your corn, this stuff is leftover from bbqing and completely not local, in season, or sustainable.

Then add your can of evaporated milk.  Its really hard to avoid Nestle on this one and and if anyone has any info on if this no name stuff is really nestle in disguise I'd love to know.

Add a bit of chopped parlsey and a handful of chopped dulse! (more to come about dulse soon) turn off the heat and wait 5 minutes and your'e done. 

Delicious! Add a loaf bread, or even better pan rolls, from the most heavenly tiny bakery you can find and you're all set.

I love how fast you end up with chowder.  45 minutes tops.


  1. Someone recently asked me about my favorite place that I'd visited, and I replied Grand Manan. My husband and I visited a few years back and loved it (we're originally from NS). And we equally love seafood chowder (with haddock of course!). We put a splash of milk in, or sometimes none at all.

  2. Oh that looks heavenly! Thanks for the recipe. I think I'll have to try that soon!

  3. Wow. What a beautiful place; I hope to visit.

  4. Such beautiful photographs - they really transport you to the place!

  5. That looks amazing. Could you use fresh cream and skip the evaporated milk?

  6. @Jenninfer It is my favourite place in the whole wide world and I can't believe we have to leave in two days! :(

  7. That looks so invitingly delicious! Eastern Canada is so beautiful..enjoy every minute of your time there!

  8. The chowder looks amazing but the bread just made me drool on my keyboard. Such great photos too. It looks like the most perfect meal for such a beautiful setting.

  9. Your recipe looks great. For vacationers I might add that a most excellent seafood chowder with or without lobster can be found at the Back Porch Cafe located at the head of the Fishermen's Wharf in North Head, Grand Manan. :-)