beaucoup seafood chowder

stay awhile // movita beaucoup

beaucoup seafood chowder | movita beaucoup

Got plans for the weekend? Drop ’em. Make this chowder instead. It will be worth it. You can always make new friends.

I’ve been eating this chowder since forever. Rosie Beaucoup has always made it. And except for Jackie’s Fish Chowder, it’s never been rivalled. I served it at the 2nd Annual Cat Farm BBQ. Ramekins and mugs filled before the main meat event. Adopamop said it was just like he remembered it from when we were kids, and scarfed back two helpings.

This is not a thick chowder, so if that’s your jam, you should move on. This is a broth-based chowder. Don’t use skim milk – it won’t work, simple as that. You need a good full-fat milk (whole or homogenized), and some nice thick cream. And though you can use water in this chowder, I’d use chicken broth (as indicated in the recipe). It will make your chowder richer. I always use white fish (cod, haddock or even sole), scallops and lobster. I wouldn’t use salmon, shrimp or sardines (the flavour is a bit too dominant). You can use frozen fish with no trouble at all.

The great thing about chowders is that they are even better on the second day. Something extraordinary happens when fish and dairy products spend the night together. Kinda like 2.0 and I: magic. (But less creepy than what I just implied about 2.0 and I.) Point being that if you make it the day before you have some annoying relatives over, you can spend the day drinking your face off instead of slaving over a hot stove.

beaucoup seafood chowder | movita beaucoup

Here’s a tip I learned from Rosie Beaucoup: if you plan to drink any quantity of alcohol whilst hosting your food event, make a list of things to do (such as warm the bread in the oven, take the potato salad out of the fridge, put underwear on under the pants), and keep it on hand throughout the event. You can refer to it often, and it will be more reliable than you are after, say, six gin and tonics. Otherwise you’ll do what is most traditionally Beaucoup – find half the stuff you meant to serve your guests sitting the the refrigerator the next day.

You’re welcome.

. . .

note: an updated version of this recipe can be found here

also: don’t, for heaven’s sake, use skim milk in this recipe. it won’t work. simple as that. use full fat, homogenized or whole milk. and I’d opt for chicken broth rather than water – trust me. 

Beaucoup Seafood Chowder

recipe: adapted slightly from Rosie Beaucoup, original source lost at sea

print and make

  • 1/4 pound of butter (1/2 cup, or one stick)
  • 2 medium onions, diced
  • 2 stalks of celery, diced
  • 1 potato (no more), diced
  • about 3 cups chicken broth or water* – see notes below
  • 1 tablespoon each of dried basil, oregano, and celery salt
  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt (optional, I leave it out)
  • three dashes Tabasco sauce
  • about 2 litres of milk – homogenized
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 lb (or more) white fish – such as haddock, cod or sole
  • 1 lb (or more) shellfish – fresh or frozen scallops or lobster. I strongly recommend using both scallops and lobster – I never use anything else. I use already-cooked lobster, and most often both my scallops and lobster have been frozen. Don’t use any fish with a dominant flavour such as salmon, sardines, clams, etc.

For this recipe, I always use at least a pound of haddock and/or cod, a small package of frozen small-sized scallops and a can of frozen lobster knuckles and claws. The lobster has already been cooked. I think the sweet scallops and lobster really make this chowder.

To make:

In a large Dutch oven, melt the butter and then sauté the onions and celery over medium heat – allow them to soften a little – just a few minutes. Add the potato and add only enough chicken broth (or water) to barely cover. Cook until the potato is just barely tender. Add the basil, oregano, celery salt, pepper, salt (if using), paprika and Tabasco sauce. It will seem like a lot of spices, don’t worry.

Layer the fish and shellfish on top. Add just enough chicken broth (or water) to cover. Cook only until fish barely flakes.

Add the cream, and then fill the pot with the milk. If you think you’re going to run out of room in the pot, skimp on the milk, not the cream. My Dutch oven is standard-sized, and there is plenty of room.

Allow the chowder to warm through. Keep on a bare simmer until serving or refrigerate and slowly heat up before serving.

* Notes:

Water is traditionally used in chowders such as this, and will taste just fine if you opt for that instead of broth. If using broth, as I do, I recommend using a sodium reduced variety (I use one of those 900 ml tetra paks) – if you find it’s not enough, you can make up the difference with water. The chicken broth adds just a bit of richness to the chowder.

I find chowder is best on the second day, so when entertaining, make it the day before – it will save you time and stress on the day as well.

After refrigeration, I put the pot on low and allow 45 minutes it to heat through. Do not allow the chowder to boil – low heat is key.

You will notice that the spices seem to sit on top of the chowder, like an oil slick. Don’t worry – when you serve, give a little stir and then scoop – just the right amount of spice will come up with the ladle.

61 Responses to beaucoup seafood chowder

  1. Isa August 12, 2011 at 10:36 am #

    Lucy loved it and remembers it very well. Her exact words last week were “I don’t like your fish soup. The one at Rachael’s was super yummy. I want Rachael’s soup but not yours.”

    • movita August 12, 2011 at 10:41 am #

      Lucy has superior taste. Her word is law.

  2. glutenfreezen August 15, 2011 at 10:55 pm #

    This looks SO GOOD! And what a beautiful chowder….I’m going to make it my goal in the next couple of months to figure out how to do your recipe dairy free so I can enjoy it too. Love your blog!

  3. Stephanie Barnhart February 22, 2012 at 12:47 pm #

    Have you ever made it just with shellfish? I’m not a fan of scaly fish but love the shelled stuff. Just wondering if it makes a difference in the end.

    • movita beaucoup February 22, 2012 at 12:52 pm #

      I always include a white fish, and most often: scallops and lobster. The white fish will just melt in your mouth… Yum! I’ve never tried it without white fish, so if you do, let me know how it turns out!!

      • Stephanie Barnhart March 17, 2012 at 11:13 pm #

        I made it leaving out the fish and used just crab, shrimp, and scallops instead. Never having eaten a seafood chowder, I enjoyed it but had nothing to compare it to. My hubby, however, LOVES anything related to seafood, and he praised it highly, saying it was better than anything he’s ever gotten in a nice restaurant. Next time, I’d leave out the crab altogether–didn’t really like the mouth feel–but the scallops and shrimp were great! Thanks for the recipe!!!

        • movita beaucoup March 21, 2012 at 10:28 pm #

          Oh, yay! This is so exciting. Thanks so, so much for stopping by to let me know how it worked out. (I’m so glad your hubby got a belly full of seafood!) xox

  4. Shari February 22, 2012 at 12:57 pm #

    Oh…yum. This makes me miss Nova Scotia and access to fresh seafood!

  5. Teri Byrne February 22, 2012 at 2:00 pm #

    WOW thanX for our FISH ON FRIDAY supper this week!!
    fishy kisses from Oregon <<<<

  6. Anonymous January 11, 2013 at 10:10 am #

    What about throwing some mussels in?

    • movita beaucoup January 11, 2013 at 12:37 pm #

      Haven’t tried it! I love mussels, but without having tried it myself, I can’t give a personal recommendation. If you give it a go, please let me know how it goes!

  7. Debbie K January 13, 2013 at 5:22 pm #

    making this right now, just tasted broth…WOW!!!! i used clam juice instead of chicken broth. can’t wait to taste it tomorrow!!

  8. bellinivalli January 13, 2013 at 8:33 pm #

    Hey Movita, the recipe over on Tasty Kitchen says 8 cups, 7 tablespoons, ¾ teaspoons, ⅓ pinches Homogenized Milk. It seems there may be some information missing in the ingredient list. I would have to be a member to comment over there so thought I would bring it to your attention for this lovely recipe.

    • movita beaucoup January 13, 2013 at 10:49 pm #

      Thanks so much! It looks like the 2 litre measurement is confusing the Tasty Kitchen site, so it’s trying to convert it to cups + tablespoons, etc. Crazy! I’ve changed it to read approximately 8 cups. I guess we Canadians confuse American sites! I really appreciate the heads up – thanks again for the tip!

  9. Patricia Mitchell January 28, 2013 at 9:29 pm #

    Wow! From Calgary. My husband just oh wow I haven’t tasted chowder this good since he lived where? Halifax Nova Scotia :)) thx so much for posting this and finally I get to cook some of his local fav’s. Patricia Mitchell.

  10. Patricia Mitchell January 28, 2013 at 9:32 pm #

    Oops maybe reading my comment before I posted it to see if it made sense but I was so darn excited lol. My husband just “said” oh wow it should have read

    • movita beaucoup January 28, 2013 at 9:45 pm #

      Patricia! This is so exciting! I’m thrilled to hear that we’ve brought a little Halifax into your husband’s life! (We being you and me.) Thanks for taking the time to stop by and let me know… stay warm in Calgary!

  11. Patricia Mitchell January 31, 2013 at 4:40 pm #

    Movita, I am just setting up my first blog on WordPress and very new to the whole process. I would love to use your seafood chowder recipe and pic (cause I wasn’t smart enough to take a pic of my own) so fill me in on how to get your permission etc and I will make sure to note all your info as well.? Thx for the help.

    • movita beaucoup February 1, 2013 at 5:35 am #

      I’m just getting ready to head off to school, but if you send me an email, I’ll send you some deets this weekend!

    • movita beaucoup February 2, 2013 at 7:58 pm #

      Hi Patricia – I’ve deleted your email address from the comment below! I didn’t want you to start receiving tons of spam/love letters from creeps…

  12. Erin February 1, 2013 at 12:21 am #

    Movita, how many does this recipe serve?

    • movita beaucoup February 1, 2013 at 5:35 am #

      Oh, it’s a big pot. I’d say 6-8 people easily (as a main)!

  13. Anonymous February 21, 2013 at 10:52 pm #

    Where do you get the homogenized milk from?

    • movita beaucoup February 22, 2013 at 5:20 am #

      The grocery store – it’s like whole milk. You want something with a higher fat content than say, skim milk. We call that homogenized milk in Canada! Basically, you’re looking for a high milk fat content.

  14. Anonymous March 8, 2013 at 7:03 pm #

    Just made this chowder, it’s amazing, luv it. It’s gonna be my new chowder recipe….thx.

  15. Mikaela March 19, 2013 at 9:23 pm #

    What if you don’t have a dutch oven? How can you still make this chowder?

  16. Food,Photography & France June 6, 2013 at 7:33 am #

    That’s a mouth wateringly excellent recipe. I’ve never made a creamy chowder, maybe because we live in the area of deep rust red soupe de poissons. Fish and clams we have here, in excess. I’m very much looking forward to making this and glad to have found your blog. PS. Does the “2.0 plus I” refer to a menage a trois? I’ve racked my brains, but that’s all I can come up with.

    • movita beaucoup June 6, 2013 at 7:35 am #

      Oh, I think we’re going to get along just fine. Just fine indeed…

  17. Anonymous November 10, 2013 at 11:47 pm #

    Way to much oregano…it needs to be cut in half at least

    • movita beaucoup November 11, 2013 at 12:31 pm #

      With all due respect, I believe you are saying that the oregano in this recipe is not to your particular tastes. Fair enough – I appreciate that we might not share the same preferences. But for readers hoping to try the traditional chowder that my friends and family have been enjoying for decades, I would not personally recommend cutting the quantity of oregano.

      My recipes are merely offerings. There are no guarantees that they will work for you. I constantly play with recipes in the kitchen – you might enjoy doing the same. Please feel free to adapt and adjust the recipe to your own tastes, and make it your own!

  18. Melissa December 15, 2013 at 9:48 am #

    I have made this chowder twice this fall- I currently live I Spain so it’s a real treat departing from the local cuisine! I would change nothing- it’s fantastic the way it is. I use fresh cod, shrimp, and frozen scallops and crab. I throw a can of clams with the juice too for the flavor 🙂 Thank you for sharing this awesomeness!

  19. Noemi January 30, 2014 at 11:28 pm #

    Where can you find canned lobster knuckles?

    • movita beaucoup January 31, 2014 at 6:39 am #

      Here we get them at fish shops (of course) and grocery stores (in the freezer section). Any lobster meat will do!

  20. Natalie March 8, 2014 at 1:51 am #

    I made the seafood chowder tonight (first attempt at making soup/stew of any kind). The taste is great although I will wait until tomorrow to indulge. However, the dish does not have a creamy/thick consistency, what did I miss? Or what do I need to thicken it up and maintain the great flavor?

    • movita beaucoup March 8, 2014 at 7:34 am #

      This is a brothy chowder – it won’t thicken up! Add nothing, and it will be just as the recipe intended. (Though it is nice with some crusty bread!)

    • joyce May 26, 2014 at 9:17 pm #

      I also love a thick chowder, just add a couple of tablespoons of corn starch to some cold water in a cup stir til it dissolves , then stir into chowder , then it will thicken up nicely

  21. Shannon Khoussine March 20, 2014 at 9:02 pm #

    I don’t usually post comments. This is the best chowder I have ever had or made! Thank you so very much for this gift!

    • movita beaucoup March 25, 2014 at 7:21 am #

      You are most welcome! I’m so glad to hear that you like it…

  22. Chelsea March 22, 2014 at 6:02 pm #

    Do you leave shells on the lobster/shellfish during cooking or remove them and just cook the meat?

    • movita beaucoup March 23, 2014 at 8:21 am #

      I use cooked lobster meat – and just throw it in!

  23. Cassie June 22, 2014 at 3:34 pm #

    Has anyone tried adding a touch of white wine to the broth?

  24. Seafood Restaurant In Chigwell August 14, 2014 at 10:13 am #

    Seafood chowder is a amazing food, The wonderful thing about chowders is that they are even better on the next day.

  25. Trudy August 14, 2014 at 6:52 pm #

    Can you freeze left overs?

    • movita beaucoup August 15, 2014 at 7:05 am #

      I’ve never frozen chowder, as I don’t know that the dairy would hold up well. So, I can’t personally recommend doing so.

  26. Kelly August 15, 2014 at 12:21 am #

    Any recommendations for making this dairy free? Like what kind of substitute “milk” and “cream” to use? This sounds amazing, but sadly I’m not supposed to have dairy! = (

    • movita beaucoup August 15, 2014 at 7:09 am #

      Sorry, I can’t offer substitutions for this recipe. I’ve only made the recipe as printed, and given that fish and dairy are the two main ingredients, I wouldn’t recommend trying this recipe with anything else. We’ve been making it this way for decades! I wish I could be more helpful. If you’ve got a craving for fish chowder, I’d suggest looking for something more broth based. Good luck!

  27. movita beaucoup August 15, 2014 at 9:36 am #

    Comments on this post are now closed as it was published in August 2011. An updated version of the recipe can be found here: Thanks for stopping by!


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