Smoky Seafood Chowder

Smoked scallops or smoked oysters are a wonderful substitute for the smoked mussels that this recipe calls for.

Smoky Seafood Chowder
Photo: © Bill Bettencourt


  • One 1 1/2-pound lobster

  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter

  • 2 tablespoons finely diced lean salt pork

  • 2 medium onions, coarsely chopped

  • 1 pound red potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice

  • 2 cups bottled clam juice

  • 1 cup water

  • 1 bay leaf

  • 1 quart light cream

  • 2 one-pound halibut or haddock fillets, without skin

  • 6 ounces smoked mussels, drained and patted dry

  • 6 ounces smoked shrimp, drained and patted dry

  • 1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika

  • Salt and freshly ground pepper

  • 3 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley, for garnish


  1. In a medium pot of boiling salted water, cook the lobster until bright red all over, about 9 minutes. Transfer the lobster to a plate and let cool slightly. Twist the tail and claws from the body and crack the claws. Remove the meat from the tail in 1 piece. Make a slit down the center of the tail meat and remove the intestinal tract. Remove the meat from the claws. Cut the lobster meat into 1-inch pieces. Cover and refrigerate.

  2. Melt the butter in a large saucepan. Add the salt pork and cook over moderate heat, stirring, for 1 minute. Stir in the onions and cook until softened, about 7 minutes. Add the potatoes, clam juice, water and bay leaf and bring to a simmer. Cook over moderate heat until the potatoes are just tender, about 12 minutes. Add the cream and return to a simmer. Add the fish fillets and simmer gently until they break apart and are cooked through, about 10 minutes.

  3. Remove the soup from the heat and stir in the mussels, shrimp and lobster meat. Cook over low heat until the shellfish is just heated through. Add the paprika and season with salt and pepper. Ladle the chowder into mugs or bowls, garnish with the parsley and serve.

Make Ahead

The chowder can be refrigerated for up to 1 day. Rewarm over moderately low heat.


To remove the tail meat from a lobster in one piece, snap off the flipper at the end of the tail. Then place the tail on its side and press gently on it with the heel of your hand until you feel the shell crack; don't push too hard or you'll mangle the meat. You can also use kitchen shears to slice along either side of the soft underside of the tail. For both methods, put the tail on a kitchen towel and pull away the sides of the shell to release the meat.

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