Walleye and Wild Rice Chowder
By Outdoor News Director of Business Development, Evy Gebhardt.
“This hearty chowder is great served in hollowed-out bread bowls or with crusty bread on the side. While Walleye filets that have been cut into chunks carry this dish, I’ve found the pieces of smaller panfish don’t hold up as well. I’ve also tested the recipe exchanging either salmon, and also halibut instead of walleye, with great success. ”
3 slices thick bacon, diced
½ cup butter
½ cup chopped onion
½ cup chopped celery
1 cup shredded carrots
½ cup flour
4 cups poultry *stock
1 cup water
1 lb. of fish fillets, skin off and cut into bite-sized pieces.
¼ tsp dried Thyme
Dash of Cayenne Pepper
2 cups heavy cream (or half & half)
2 cups cooked wild rice, drained. (For maximum flavor, add one chicken bouillon cube and a ¼ tsp of garlic powder to the water when preparing the wild rice)
1 cup of cheddar cheese, shredded
Salt & Pepper
Under medium heat, in a Dutch Oven or heavy pot, fry the chopped bacon until crisp. Remove the bacon, but leave any residual bacon fat in the pan. Add butter, onion, celery and carrots and sauté until the onion is slightly transparent, less than 5 minutes. Gradually add flour, stirring constantly. Slowly blend in the stock and water. (Hint – a wire whisk is essential to get this uniformly blended.) Continue to stir as you bring the mixture to a full boil. Gently add your fish, and sprinkle in the Thyme and Cayenne pepper. Reintroduce the fried bacon pieces back into the pot. Reduce heat to low and continue to cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Blend in the cream, wild rice and shredded cheese. Simmer an additional 15-20 minutes until warm and blended. Some people like a dash of hot sauce or a sprinkling of red pepper flakes to give the chowder a little extra heat, but generally just seasoning will salt and pepper to taste gives it a nice finish.
A tip from the kitchen: Did you know you can make your own **basic stock from the bones of a cooked bird? Whether you have a rotisserie chicken, your leftover holiday turkey, or roasted pheasant, this is an excellent way to get everything out of the bird. Use a big pot and toss chunks of onion, celery, and carrots, into the pot with the boned out bird. (Did you pull some skin off or have pan drippings? Toss them in!) Add at least 6-8 cups of water and bring to a low boil. Cover, reduce heat and simmer for up to an hour. Then strain the liquid through a fine mesh colander. (If you choose to, you can toss the solids. But you’d be surprised at how much extra meat you’ll be able to pull from the carcass at this point, and enjoy those carrots. They have amazing flavor.) Your rough stock is ready to use, or you can refrigerate for up to a week. Another option is to freeze this liquid in an ice cube tray. Pop the frozen cubes into a Ziploc and store in the freezer for up to 2 months. These “stock cubes” are great to toss in when cooking rice, pasta, or vegetables, and are a quick way to build a soup base.