Easy dinner recipes: Quick seafood chowders and stews

If you're looking for a simple but hearty way to end the day, it doesn't get much better -- or more simple -- than a rich bowl of seafood chowder or stew.

Take the seafood chowder from cookbook author Janet Mendel. The recipe is for a rich Andalusian variation -- gazpachuelo con pescado -- which, Mendel wrote, has "obvious roots in gazpacho, [and] is thickened with an olive oil and egg emulsion. The simple version contains bits of fish and potatoes, but more elaborate versions, sometimes called sopa Viña AB, for a type of dry sherry added to it, contain chunks of fish, shrimp, ham, potatoes and peas." The dish takes less than an hour to make.
This Galician dish combines white fish fillets (use something like cod or halibut) with potatoes, garlic, onion and notes of bay leaf and pimenton for a simple yet flavorful meal. - See more at:
Or try her recipe for fish stew. This Galician dish combines white fish fillets (use something like cod or halibut) with potatoes, garlic, onion and notes of bay leaf and pimenton for a simple yet flavorful meal that comes together in only an hour.

Or go for a simple bowl of creamy chowder. Durty Nelly's in Nova Scotia was happy to share its recipe for seafood chowder, which is at once rich and satisfying. The restaurant also included its cheddar and green onion biscuits recipe, which it serves alongside the chowder. Each recipe comes together in about 45 minutes. Fix one or both for a satisfying end to the day.

You can find all of the recipes below.

And for more ideas, click through our easy dinner recipes gallery and check out our Dinner Tonight page, devoted to recipes that can be made in an hour or less. Looking for a particular type of recipe? Comment below or email me at


Total time: 50 minutes

Servings: 6

Note: For the fish, use a white fish such as cod or halibut. Serrano ham is available at select gourmet markets and specialty stores.

1 egg, at room temperature

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

2 quarts simple fish stock

1 1/2 cups diced boiling potatoes

1/4 cup shelled peas, fresh or frozen

1 1/2 cups chunks of raw fish

1/4 cup chopped Serrano ham

1/3 cup peeled shrimp (3 ounces)

1/4 cup dry sherry

Salt and pepper to taste

1. In the bowl of a blender, place the egg. With the motor running, add the oil in a slow stream until it is emulsified (it will thicken like a mayonnaise). Blend in the lemon juice, then set aside. (If the emulsion happens to "break" while it is blended, simply pour out the mixture and add a fresh egg white to the blender container. Add the mixture in a slow stream to fix the emulsion.)

2. In a large, heavy-bottomed soup pot, add the fish stock and bring to a boil over high heat. Add the potatoes, cover and simmer for 10 minutes, until somewhat softened but not cooked through. Add the peas and cook an additional 5 minutes.

3. Add the chunks of fish, ham, shrimp and sherry. Bring the soup to a boil, then reduce to a gentle simmer.

4. With the blender running, ladle about 1 cup of the hot broth from the soup into the emulsion in the blender and blend until smooth. Remove the soup from the heat and whisk the emulsion into the soup. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately. The soup can be reheated, but do not boil. This makes a generous 2½ quarts of soup.

Each serving: 313 calories; 18 grams protein; 9 grams carbohydrates; 1 gram fiber; 22 grams fat; 4 grams saturated fat; 82 mg cholesterol; 1 gram sugar; 1,402 mg sodium.


Total time: 1 hour

Servings: 4

Note: For the stew, use a white fish such as cod or halibut.

1 1/2 pounds fish fillets


1 1/2 pounds boiling potatoes, peeled and quartered

1 quart water

1 onion, quartered

2 bay leaves

1/4 cup olive oil

4 cloves garlic, chopped

2 tablespoons sweet pimentón (paprika, not smoked)

2 tablespoons wine vinegar

1. Cut the fish fillets into chunks and place the fish in a bowl. If using fresh (not frozen) fish, sprinkle over one-half teaspoon salt and toss with the fish, then set the fish aside for 30 minutes before adding to the soup — the fish does not need to be rinsed before using (do not salt the fish if using frozen).

2. Put the potatoes in a deep, heavy-bottomed pot with the water, onion, bay leaves and 1½ teaspoons salt, or to taste. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the chunks of fish and continue to simmer 15 minutes more, or until the potatoes are tender.

3. Meanwhile, in a small skillet, heat the oil over high heat and sauté the chopped garlic until golden, stirring constantly. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the pimentón and vinegar.

4. When the potatoes are tender and the fish just flakes, remove the fish and potatoes to a large serving bowl or tureen.

5. Add the garlic-pimentón sauce to the remaining broth. Bring quickly to a boil, stirring, then pour it over the fish and potatoes. Discard the bay leaf.

Each serving: 434 calories; 31 grams protein; 35 grams carbohydrates; 4 grams fiber; 19 grams fat; 3 grams saturated fat; 82 mg cholesterol; 3 grams sugar; 1,283 mg sodium.


45 minutes. Makes 10½ cups

2 large boiling potatoes, diced

1 1/2 cups diced onion

1 1/2 cups diced carrot

1 1/2 cups diced celery

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons butter, divided

1 quart water

1 1/2 tablespoons fish base, preferably Minor's

1 cup whipping cream

1/4 teaspoon dried dill

1/4 teaspoon dried thyme

1/4 cup flour

8 ounces boneless firm white fish fillet, such as haddock or cod, cut into bite-sized pieces

6 ounces shrimp

6 ounces scallops

Salt and pepper

1. In a large pot of simmering water, boil the potatoes just until tender. Drain and set aside.

2. In a large, heavy-bottomed saucepot, sauté the diced onion, carrot and celery in 2 tablespoons butter until the vegetables are softened, stirring constantly to avoid coloring. Add the water and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and whisk in the fish base. Add the potatoes, cream, dill, thyme and pepper.

3. In a separate pan, melt the remaining one-fourth cup butter over medium heat. Add the flour, stirring constantly, and cook for 2 to 4 minutes to make a roux. Whisk the roux into the chowder and continue to cook until thickened over medium high heat, approximately 2 to 4 minutes after the mixture has reached a boil.

4. Add the haddock, shrimp and scallops to the chowder just before serving, and simmer until the seafood is fully cooked, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Each of 8 servings

Calories 341

Protein 14 grams

Carbohydrates 26 grams

Fiber 3 grams

Fat 20 grams

Saturated fat 13 grams

Cholesterol 111 mg

Sugar 4 grams

Sodium 518 mg

Durty Nelly's cheddar green onion biscuits

45 minutes. Makes 12 biscuits

3 1/2 cups (15 ounces) flour, plus more for dusting

1/4 cup sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda


1 cup softened margarine

1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese

1/4 cup chopped green onion, green parts only

3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons buttermilk

1. Heat the oven to 375 degrees.

2. In a large bowl, sift the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and a pinch of salt together. Add the margarine and mix together by hand until mixture is slightly dry and crumbly, and the margarine is reduced to pea-sized crumbs. Mix in the cheddar cheese and green onions. Add the buttermilk and knead. Turn the mixture out onto a floured cutting board or work surface and knead a few more times. Roll the dough to about an inch thick and form into a rectangle. Cut into 12 equal squares. Place on lined baking sheet, slightly spaced apart.

3. Bake until the top appears golden brown, cracked and firm, 10 to 12 minutes.


Calories 306

Protein 6 grams

Carbohydrates 32 grams

Fiber 1 gram

Fat 17 grams

Saturated fat 4 grams

Cholesterol 6 mg

Sugar 5 grams

Sodium 384 mg

NOTE: Adapted from Durty Nelly's. Fish base can be found at seafood markets and many well-stocked grocery stores.