Ba’s Christmas Chowder

My grandmother, “Ba,” always made this wonderful chowder especially for Christmas Eve dinner. You can use any or all of the seafood listed. Serves 5 (plus seconds and thirds!)


2-3 slices bacon (in pieces) 

1 pint fresh or canned clams (one each whole and chopped) and liquid

1 pint fresh oysters and liquid

1 pint scallops

1 pint haddock, cod, or tilapia pieces

1 pint cooked shrimp

1 cup lobster pieces

1 cup crabmeat

1 chopped onion

1 T. Worcestershire sauce

1 T. flour

1 T. paprika

1+ cup regular whole milk (do NOT use evaporated milk) – use more as needed to add volume

1+ cup light cream

2-3 T. butter

S & P

Cook bacon in the bottom of the chowder pot; remove when crisp. Pour off the excess fat, but keep some in the pot. Fry the onion in the bacon fat til golden. Add the Worcestershire and S&P. (We also like to add a shot of Siracchi sauce to give it a little kick) Add the clam juice and bring to boil. Turn heat down to medium. Add the seafood:

  • oysters
  • clams
  • fish
  • crabmeat
  • scallops
  • lobster
  • shrimp

 (The idea is to add the seafood that needs the least cooking LAST)

Stir and add flour and stir again to thicken. Add cream and milk, stir and simmer. Add butter and allow to melt. Salt and pepper to taste. Chop the bacon into small pieces, and add on top. Take the chowder off the heat and let cool.

Store in refrigerator at least overnight to let the flavors combine. Heat and serve with oyster crackers, sweet pickles and Parker House rolls.


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