Indulgent comfort foods are one of my favourite things about the long, cold, dark, Canadian winters, after Christmas of course. Rich, creamy soups, stews, sauces, casseroles, pies… you get the point. Unfortunately, when you’re on a healing dietary protocol, like AIP, those comfort foods are some of the first to go. If you focus on the deprivation and how unfair it all is, it can make for a miserable experience. Much better, in my experience, to focus on what you can have to help your body heal and feel its very best all through the year. Enter this AIP seafood chowder!
I have been a passionate lover of fish and seafood for as long as I can remember. Growing up on the prairies, we didn’t get much of it. When Mom splurged and we had shrimp for dinner, it was a great treat! Once out on my own with some disposable income, I certainly treated myself a little more frequently. I may have had a moment of pure, unadulterated joy when I discovered that eating seafood was not only permitted on AIP, but strongly encouraged! Seafood has a whole raft of health and healing benefits, especially for those with autoimmune issues. You can check out this great piece from Dr. Sarah Ballantyne for more on why fish and seafood are so good for you. Unless you’re allergic. Then you have my sympathies and you probably won’t be reading the rest of this post.
This AIP seafood chowder was the very first AIP-compliant recipe I developed. This was also my very first introduction to fennel. Had I been missing out! Using white sweet potatoes, the starchier the better, is a great sub substitute for the potatoes you typically find in a chowder, and you won’t even miss the nightshades. If you’re sensitive to higher starch veggies like sweet potato, I have made the recipe with turnips and it was quite good. Rutabaga/swede could also be an SCD option but may alter the taste.
I like to pulse this once or twice with a hand blender before adding the seafood to give it a better texture. I have included this step, but it is completely optional. If you decide to skip the blender, you can leave the bay leaves in until you are ready to serve.
Creamy Seafood Chowder
- 2 tsp butter, lard, or coconut oil
- 1 cup fennel bulb, chopped
- 1/2 cup onion, chopped
- 1/2 cup celery, chopped
- 2 cup fish or chicken broth any light coloured broth will work
- 2 cup white sweet potato, diced can use turnips, or regular white potatoes if nightshades aren't an issue
- 2 bay leaves
- 1/2 tsp thyme
- 1/2 tsp salt to taste
- 1/4 tsp mace
- 1/2 lb cod fillets in 1" pieces
- 1 cup cooked shrimp, cooked
- 1/2 lb baby clams
- 1/4 lb small bay scallops
- 1/2 cup coconut milk
- Heat fat or oil in a large stock pot over medium heat. Sauté fennel, onion, and celery in the coconut oil for 5-10 minutes until fragrant.
- Add the broth, turnips, bay leaves, thyme, salt, and mace. Stir and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until turnips are tender. Remove bay leaves.
- Using a hand blender, pulse chowder a few times to refine consistency, if desired.
- Add cod. Cover and simmer for 5 minutes.
- Add remaining seafood and coconut milk. Simmer uncovered for about 2 minutes until everything is cooked (but not overcooked and rubbery!).