Unsworth Seafood Chowder

This delicious soup is a favourite for customers at the Unsworth Restaurant. Created by restaurant chef Maartyn Hoogeveen, it is a celebration of the Turyks’ fishing history and the west coast’s beautiful bounty from the sea. Now let’s make this chowdah!

Serves 6


Chowder Base:
1 small onion, diced 2 Tbsp butter
1 sprig summer savory, roughly chopped
4 cups fish stock (see note)
1 lb Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and quartered
3 cups cream

3 1⁄2 Tbsp canola oil
1 onion, diced in 1-inch cubes
2 carrots, diced in 1-inch cubes
3 stalks celery, diced in 1-inch cubes
1 leek, diced in 1-inch cubes
2 Yukon Gold potatoes, diced in 1-inch cubes
2 cloves garlic, minced
8 oz Vancouver Island clams, washed
8 oz Salt Spring Island mussels, washed and beards removed
8 oz fresh wild BC coho salmon, diced
8 oz fresh ling cod, diced
8 oz fresh Pacific halibut, diced
1⁄4 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
1⁄4 cup finely chopped dill Salt and pepper
Fresh pea shoots, to garnish (optional)

For the Chowder Base:
Place the onions and butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add the savory and sweat for 4–5 minutes, taking care not to brown the onions.

Add the fish stock and potatoes and bring to a boil, then turn down to a simmer until the potatoes are fully cooked, about 20 minutes.

Cool and transfer to a blender (be careful of splashing) or use an immersion blender to blitz until smooth.

Return the chowder to the pot over low heat, and stir in the cream.


For the Chowder:
In a large frying pan over medium heat, heat the oil, then add the onions, carrots, celery, leeks, potatoes and garlic. Sauté for about 5 minutes, making sure the vegetables do not begin to brown.

Add the cooked vegetables to the chowder base and stir. Turn up heat to medium and let simmer until just tender, about 10–15 minutes.

Add the clams, mussels and fish and bring back to a boil. Simmer until the mussels and clams open (about 4–5 minutes), then turn off the heat. discard any of the clams or mussels that did not open. Pick out the meat from the clams and mussels, return to the chowder and discard the shells.

Stir in the parsley and dill and season to taste. divide between bowls, top with pea shoots and edible flowers if you like,  and serve with fresh focaccia bread.

The chowder base (without the vegetables and fish) freezes well. defrost it in the fridge for 24 hours before use—if you try heating it up from frozen, it will just burn to the bottom of the pan.

Notes: If you can’t find fish stock, you can substitute vegetable stock or a mix of chicken stock and clam juice.