- 4 ounces smoky bacon, such as Benton’s (See Note), cut into 1-by- 1/4- inch matchsticks
- 1 tablespoon chopped rosemary
- 2 dried red chiles, stemmed and broken
- 4 small celery ribs, finely chopped
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 1 fennel bulb, finely chopped
- 2 quarts fish stock or 1 quart bottled clam broth with 1 quart of water
- 1 stick unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 pound fingerling potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch rounds
- 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
- Freshly ground pepper
- 1 pint freshly shucked oysters with their liquor
- Tabasco, for serving
How to make this recipe
- In a large pot, cook the bacon over moderately high heat, stirring, until browned, about 5 minutes. Transfer the bacon to a paper towel–lined plate to drain. Pour out all but 2 tablespoons of the bacon fat in the pot. Add the rosemary and chiles to the pot and cook for 1 minute. Add the celery, onion and fennel and cook over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 10 minutes. Add the fish stock and bring to a simmer.
- In a medium saucepan, melt the butter. Add the flour and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until the roux is the color of peanut butter, about 5 minutes. Scrape the roux into the soup and bring to a boil. Add the potatoes and simmer until tender and the soup has thickened, about 10 minutes. Stir in the cream, season with salt and pepper and return to a simmer.
- Add the oysters and bacon to the soup and simmer until the oysters are just cooked, about 3 minutes. Spoon the chowder into deep bowls and serve with Tabasco.
The recipe can be made through Step 2 and refrigerated overnight. Return to a simmer before proceeding.
Benton's Smoky Mountain Country Hams are available at bentonscountryhams2.com.
This incredibly fragrant chowder could easily overpower white wines that don’t have enough acidity. Pour a zippy Muscadet from France’s coastal Loire Valley.