Simple seafood chowder

A simple seafood chowder is one of the most comforting things on a chilly Winter day. I personally love this soup with lots of shellfish like mussels and clams, but you can just use fish if you aren’t a fan.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Course Lunch, Main, Soups and Salad
Servings 4


  • 50 g butter
  • 1 leek finely chopped (white part only)
  • 3 cloves garlic finely chopped
  • 2 level tablespoons plain flour
  • cups milk
  • cup fish or chicken stock
  • ½ cup cream
  • handful shellfish in shells eg mussels or clams scrubbed and cleaned – optional
  • 250 g raw fish eg monkfish snapper, tarakihi, hapuku, cut into 3-4cm chunks
  • 250 g raw prawns and/or scallops
  • 200 g smoked fish or salmon flaked
  • ½ lemon juice
  • ¼ cup finely chopped parsley
  • ¼ cup chives to serve, chopped


  • Heat butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Cook leek and garlic with a good pinch of salt for a few minutes or until soft.
  • Stir in the flour and cook, while stirring continuously, for about 1 minute.
  • Stir in about ½ cup of the milk, stirring continuously to avoid lumps forming. Gradually stir in the rest of the milk, then the stock and cream. Simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring often, until slightly thickened.
  • Add seafood (if using shellfish, add first and cook for 1-2 minutes before adding other seafood) and continue to simmer for a few minutes or until seafood is just cooked through. Season to taste with salt, pepper and lemon juice. Stir in parsley.
  • Ladle into bowls, distributing seafood equally, and garnish with chives.Serve with warm flatbread smeared with garlic and herb butter.


Warm flatbread with lashings of garlic and herb butter is the ultimate accompaniment to a yummy, warm seafood chowder. My favourite way to make garlic and herb butter is to mix 50g of softened butter with 2 minced cloves of garlic and 1 tablespoon of finely chopped parsley.
This recipe freezes well, so is perfect to have pre-portioned in the freezer for a rainy day!