My F&W
quick save (...)
Smoky Oyster Chowder with Bacon, Rosemary and Fennel
© Marcus Nilsson

Smoky Oyster Chowder with Bacon, Rosemary and Fennel

  • ACTIVE: 45 MIN
  • SERVINGS: 8 to 10

This velvety chowder from chef Dylan Fultineer is thickened with a classic flour-and-butter roux. He packs it with plump oysters and tender fingerling potatoes, and adds a kick of heat from dried red chiles. For extra flavor, he uses bacon from Benton’s Smoky Mountain Country Hams in Tennessee, which is famous for its intense smokiness.

  1. 4 ounces smoky bacon, such as Benton’s (See Note), cut into 1-by- 1/4- inch matchsticks
  2. 1 tablespoon chopped rosemary
  3. 2 dried red chiles, stemmed and broken
  4. 4 small celery ribs, finely chopped
  5. 1 large onion, finely chopped
  6. 1 fennel bulb, finely chopped
  7. 2 quarts fish stock or 1 quart bottled clam broth with 1 quart of water
  8. 1 stick unsalted butter
  9. 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  10. 1 pound fingerling potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch rounds
  11. 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  12. Salt
  13. Freshly ground pepper
  14. 1 pint freshly shucked oysters with their liquor
  15. Tabasco, for serving
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
Make Ahead

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

Suggested Pairing

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.



Average Rating



Add A Comment

    Add a Comment

    See our terms
    You must be logged in to comment. or
    You might also like
    The Dish
    Receive delicious recipes and smart wine advice 4x per week in this e-newsletter.
    The Wine List Weekly pairing plus best bottles to buy.
    F&W Daily One sensational dish served fresh every day.

    Congratulations to Mei Lin, winner of Top Chef Season 12.

    Join celebrity chefs, renowned winemakers and epicurean insiders at the culinary world's most spectacular weekend, the FOOD & WINE Classic in Aspen, June 19-21.