Repeat after me: Chowdah. No, no, you have to really play up that Boston accent. Chowdaaaah. Yes that’s better. You mustn’t say “Chowderrr”, that’s too boring. And it won’t taste as good. I don’t care where you are from…California, Canada, even France. You have to fake it til you make it. Really play it up, roll it out, enjoy it. It will make the experience that much more delicious. Now pick up your spoon and dig in to this delicious low carb fish chowder.
I don’t have even a trace of a Boston accent, despite living here for almost 10 years, but I almost never fail to say chowder with a rolled out, elongated end vowel and no “r” in sight. Without fail, it makes me giggle. And I do love me some good chowdah. Hearty, full of cream, lightly flavoured with fish or clams, it fills you up with goodness and warms you to your toes. But around here, typical chowders are often so thick, your spoon can stand straight up. It’s like concrete. And all that thickness comes from flour, which let’s face it, really isn’t good for you. It only makes it seem heartier, when really it’s filling you up with empty carbs. Add to that the potatoes that are standard in Boston Clam Chowder and you’ve got yourself a carb-filled soup with little nutrition to recommend it.
In our first year of marriage, for our first Christmas spent together, my husband and I started a tradition of having clam chowder on Christmas Eve. We wanted something warming, something comforting, but not so filling so that we couldn’t enjoy all the feasting on Christmas Day. I’ve made this same clam chowder recipe so much I could do it with my eyes closed, and I always skipped the flour in favour of a thinner broth. So I suppose my version was always gluten-free. In the past few years, I’ve figured out a great sub for the potatoes to make it a truly low carb chowder. Radish may seem like a strange substitute for potatoes, but not if it’s daikon radish. Say what? Yep, that was my first reaction too; what was this huge, white radish I’d never heard of?
The fabulous part is that not only is it a really mild, white radish that resembles potatoes when chopped, but that my local grocery store chain actually carries this heretofore unheard-of ingredient. When I purchase it, I almost always get a blank look from the check-out clerk, as they stumble to find the price look-up code and are clearly wondering what the heck this is. I usually try to help them out, and say “daikon radish”, to which I get another blank stare. I might be the only person in the history of my town to actually purchase daikon radish, let alone use it regularly. I wave my freak flag proudly!
This really is a wonderful chowder and you wouldn’t be able to tell the daikon from potatoes for a second unless I told you that’s what they were. And I’ve made it now with both fish and clams, and it’s great with both. So as winter approaches, feel free to get cozy and whip up a pot of this delicious low carb chowder. You won’t miss the potatoes or the flower for even a second.
Hearty Fish Chowder
- 4 slices bacon, chopped
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 3 cups chopped daikon radish
- 2 1/2 cups chicken stock
- 1/2 tsp dried thyme
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 1 lb fresh white fish like cod, pollock or tilapia, chopped
- OR 2 can chopped clams
- 1 tbsp butter
- In a large saucepan over medium heat, cook bacon until crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on a paper-towel lined plate.
- Add onion and daikon radish to bacon grease and cook until onions are tender, about 10 minutes.
- Add chicken stock and simmer 10 minutes. Season with thyme, salt and pepper.
- Add cream and fish and continue to simmer until fish is cooked through, about 4 minutes.
- Float butter on top.
- Serve immediately.
Serves 6. Each serving has 4.7 g of carbs and 1.3 g of fiber. Total NET CARBS = 3.4 g.