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Sunfish Chowder

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If any of you get Field and Stream magazine, I would highly recommend trying out the recipe in last month’s issue for the Sunfish chowder. It’s a corn based chowder, and turns out to be a perfect combo with fish meat. I tried it out a couple nights ago and it was SUPER tasty! Just make sure you have plenty of time on your hands, cause it ended up taking about 90 mins start to finish.

If you don’t get the magazine and you want the recipe, I can send it to you, I’ll just scan the page and send it through e-mail.

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Is anyone going to post it in the sharing recipes forum or are we just going to talk about how good it is? grin

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Haha, fair enough. Well I was going to scan the page with the recipe on it and just send it out, but I guess the words are too small. Couldn’t read any of it once it was scanned in. Anyhow, here is the recipe to the best of my memory, sorry if it gets confusing, I’m not exactly a master chef or author:


2 celery stalks

2 carrots

1 yellow onion

2 russet potatoes

4 ears of corn

2 tablespoons veggie oil

4 cups hot water

1 ½ cups heavy whipping cream

¼ lb bacon

1 ½ lbs sunfish (really any fish will work I imagine, I actually used wallys)

Salt and Pepper


Chop the celery, carrots, onion, and taters to a size of your liking (I think bigger pieces work better for soup)

Cut the kernels of the corn cobs, put kernels aside, and break the cobs in half (don’t chuck em yet, you need them for the stock)

Cut the fish into about 1 in strips


In large cooking pan:

-Cook carrots, celery, and onion in the veggie oil on med heat sprinkle with a bunch of coarse black pepper (about 8 mins)

-Add water and corn cobs and bring to a boil, then cover and reduce the heat and simmer this for 40 mins this will be the corn stock

-while the stock is cooking, cook the bacon in a separate pan (I used extra bacon, cause every meal could use a little more bacon!)

-after the 40 mins, add the corn, taters, fish, and a bunch of salt and pepper, then turn the heat back to medium and cover and cook for 5 minutes (I deviated a bit from the recipe here just for convenience sake, I believe they tell you to strain out the water into another pot, saute the corn and bacon for 5 minutes, then add the water back in, and then add the taters and fish and cook for 3 mins)

-after the 5 minutes add the cream, and mix it up. They tell you to shake the pan rather than stir it so you don’t break the fish apart, I found that the fish held up even when I stirred it though.

If I messed anything up maybe the other guys who made it can chime in with corrections.

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what a way to waste sunfish. blushcrazygrin

That was my thought also. Would it really taste any different with say talapia?

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Found the recipe:


4 large ears fresh corn

1 yellow onion, coarsely chopped

2 carrots, coarsely chopped

2 stalks celery, coarsely chopped

4 whole peppercorns

2 Tbsp. vegetable oil

1/4 lb. bacon, diced

2 russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1⁄2-inch cubes

1 1/2 lb. panfish fillets, cut into 2-inch pieces

1/2 cup heavy cream

2 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley

Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste



Remove the kernels from the corn and set aside. Snap the cobs in half. Heat vegetable oil in a large stockpot over medium-high heat, then add the onion, carrot, celery, and peppercorns. Cook, stirring frequently, for about 8 minutes, until the onion is translucent. Add the cobs and 2 quarts of cold water. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, and simmer for 40 minutes. Strain through a colander into another pot. Toss out the solids.


In a large stockpot, over medium heat, sauté the bacon until almost crispy. Set aside. Add the potatoes and reserved corn kernels to the pot, along with generous dashes of salt and pepper, and sauté, stirring, for 5 minutes. Add the corn stock. Bring to a boil; simmer for 12 minutes. Add the reserved bacon, then gently drop in the fish. Cover and cook for 3 minutes. Carefully pour the cream around the sides of the pot, then shake the pot to incorporate it. (Don’t stir, lest you break up the fish.) Garnish with chopped parsley. Serves 4.

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I've used Northern (deboned) or Walleye in my fish chowders. Or here's another thought...there are many lakes in the state with stunted sunfish that just won't grow big. You know the ones. Take a kid fishing on a dock or in the boat and catch some for the chowder. That way you give a kid more exposure to fishing and you can make chowder without using your big sunnies.

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still thinks its a waste of good sunfish, whatever you add to it! smirkwhistlecrylaughlaugh

glenn, I personally like to eat most of the fish I catch, whether its crappies, walleyes, sunfish, or northerns, I don't discriminate, I like them all. And when fishing is hot, and you need to eat some fish in order to go catch some more, its nice to try some other recipes, besides the old standby fried.

By the way, how do you cook your sunfish?

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hey blackjack i am really just kidding. no pun or rub intended. i scale my sunfish then batter them with a batter i get from up north, made by jason boser and fry them. skin on is the best. i just really think sunfish is the best eating fish there is and have a hard time using them any other way. there isnt a person thats had that batter that doent like it, matter of fact its the first stuff they ask for. we do do other things with other fish species, except sunfish. hope that clears the air. by the way some of those sunfish come from not to far down the road from you.

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I love this web site. Been catching sunfish and was also getting bored with the same way to eat them....battered and fried, or dusted with Cajun fry-crisp and fried. I mean those are good but can get old after a couple of times. I remembered the corn cob chowder recipe from outdoors magazine but didn't have the details so I come on here and boom find it.

Will be trying this today on a rainy afternoon with the dozen sunnies my son caught last night.

Thanks for the info.

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Okay made the's my thoughts.

This is a really good fish soup and I don't usually like fishy soups.

A mild flavor but a great blend of typical midwestern tastes.

Four recommendations...

1) Agree with the poster above a couple of extra pieces of bacon is helpful

2) To anything that requires onion, I usually add a little chopped garlic too. Just a little of chopped stuff in a jar...a tsp is all it took.

3) Thicken the soup a little with a water and cornstarch additive just before adding the fish and cream. The soup stock is a bit thin for a chower consistency. I thought there was a bit too much corn in the soup so you could take 1/2 the corn niblets and pulverize (cream)them in a food processor too and likely thicken the stock considerably without the addition of corn starch powder.

4) The flavor may need a bit of zest for some who like it spicier. I sprinkled a little Cayenne pepper on the top to give some color and some kick before the fresh chopped parsley. Wouldn't hurt to throw a 1/2 tsp into the cooking recipe to zest it up for folks that like a more spice in their cooking.

Otherwise this is a fantastic fish chowder and you could easily do this with any mild flavored white meat fish. A hot bowl of this stuff on a cold November day after a walk through a pheasant field in in front of a football game would be incredible.

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