For this recipe, I almost always use at least a pound of haddock, a small package of frozen small-sized scallops, and a can of frozen lobster knuckles and claws. I think the sweet scallops and lobster really make this chowder.
In a large Dutch oven, melt the butter and then sauté the onions and celery over medium heat – allow them to soften a little – just a few minutes. Add the potato and add only enough chicken broth (or water) to barely cover. Cook until the potato is just barely tender. Add the basil, oregano, celery salt, pepper, salt (if using), paprika, and Tabasco sauce. It will seem like a lot of spices, don’t worry.
Layer the fish and shellfish on top. Add just enough chicken broth (or water) to cover. Cook only until fish barely flakes.
Add the cream, and then fill the pot with the milk. If you think you’re going to run out of room in the pot, skimp on the milk, not the cream. My Dutch oven is standard-sized, and there is plenty of room.
Allow the chowder to warm through. Keep on a bare simmer until serving or refrigerate and slowly heat up before serving.
Water is traditionally used in chowders such as this and will taste just fine if you opt for that instead of broth. If using broth, as I do, I recommend using a sodium-reduced variety (I use one of those 900 ml tetra paks) – if you find it’s not enough, you can make up the difference with water. The chicken broth adds just a bit of richness to the chowder.
I find chowder is best on the second day, so when entertaining, make it the day before – it will save you time and stress on the day as well.
After refrigeration, I put the pot on low and allow 45 minutes to heat through. Do not allow the chowder to boil – lo