As with most one pot dishes, this recipes begs for improvisation…have fun with it!
1/3 lb bacon or salt pork, coarsely chopped
1 1/2 yellow onions, coarsely chopped
1/4 C chopped fresh thyme
1/4 C chopped flat leaf parsley
2 bay leaves
3 Yukon Gold potatoes, evenly cubed
2 C of half & half, or whole milk/cream mix to same volume
1/2 stick real butter
Approx. 1 1/2 lbs fish fillets, evenly chunked into large pieces. (walleye, white bass, striper, etc…almost any fish in your freezer will work!)
3 C fish stock made from fish carcasses (can substitute 2 C vegetable broth and 1 C jarred clam juice)
Kosher Salt and fresh ground black pepper.
Heat up Dutch Oven over medium-low heat. Add bacon, stir occasionally, and cook until just browned. Remove and reserve bacon, leaving the fat in the pan. Add onions and stir; if more fat is needed add a tablespoon or two of real butter. Add heavy pinch of salt and generous amount of black pepper. When onions begin to turn opaque, add 1/2 of the thyme and the potatoes. Cover with fish stock, add bay leaves and 1/2 of the parsley and simmer for about 10 minutes. Add half & half, a few bacon bits, pinch each of S&P, and the rest of the thyme. Cook over low heat until potatoes break easily, being very careful to not scorch the milk, about 5-10 minutes. Stir in fish chunks. As soon as the mixture begins to slightly bubble around the edges, add about 1-2 tablespoons butter, remove from heat, cover, and allow to rest for 5-10 minutes. Chowder is done when fish flakes easily.
Ladle a serving into soup bowl, sprinkle with parsley and salt to taste, top with a few bacon bits and oyster crackers. Enjoy!