Bacon brings a welcome smokiness to this fish chowder. Serve with oyster crackers on a cold night and you will warm up in no time.
4 1/2 cups water
4 bay leaves
1 1/2 pounds halibut fillets or other firm white fish, skinned
3 slices bacon, uncooked
3 1/2 cups cubed peeled baking potato
1 1/2 cups chopped onion (about 1 large)
1/2 cup coarsely chopped carrot (about 1 medium)
1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme
1 teaspoon salt, divided
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
4 cups 2% reduced-fat milk
1 tablespoon butter, cut into small pieces
How to Make It
Bring 4 1/2 cups water and bay leaves to a simmer in a large skillet. Add fish; cover and simmer 10 minutes or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork or until desired degree of doneness. Remove fish from pan with a slotted spoon. Cut fish into large pieces. Reserve 2 1/2 cups cooking liquid and bay leaves.
Cook bacon in a Dutch oven over medium heat until crisp. Remove bacon from pan, reserving 1 teaspoon drippings in pan; crumble bacon, and set aside. Add potato, onion, and carrot to pan; cook over medium heat 10 minutes. Add reserved cooking liquid, bay leaves, thyme, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer 10 minutes. Add milk and butter; simmer 25 minutes until potatoes are tender (do not boil). Stir in fish, remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Discard bay leaves. Sprinkle with bacon.