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Cajun Catfish Chowder

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Cajun Catfish Chowder
It's cold here in Virginia so I'm making soup! Thought I'd share the recipe....

Cajun Catfish Chowder
4 strips of bacon, (or more if you're like me)
2 cups onion, diced
1 cup celery, diced
3 Tb all-purpose flour
1 Tb garlic, minced (about 1 clove)
1/2 tsp each of cayenne pepper, paprika, dried thyme, oregano, and basil
1/2 cup dry sherry
2 (8oz) bottles of Clam juice
2 cups chicken broth
2 cups red potatoes, diced fairly small
1 Tb Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp (or more!) Tabasco
4 catfish fillets (I've used trout, also)
2 Tb cajun seasoning (or coat fish with your favorite spicy fish fry seasoning)
1 cup heavy cream (I've tried using lighter alternatives but the soup never will thicken for me if I don't use heavy cream)
1/4 cup scallions, sliced
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
lemon juice, optional to sprinkle over when finished

-Preheat oven 475 degrees.

- Saute bacon in a Dutch oven or large pot over medium heat until crispy; drain on paper towels and set aside. Pour off all but 2 Tb drippings (or add a little olive oil if you used turkey bacon and don't have enough drippings... which defeats the purpose of using turkey bacon, I guess!)

Saute onions and celery in pan drippings until soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in flour, garlic, and other seasonings (except the cajun seasoning); cook about 1 minute.

-add the sherry, stirring quite often, until the sherry has mostly evaporated. Add clam juice, broth, potatoes, Worcestershire sauce, and Tabasco. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer 15 minutes.

-Sprinkle fish with the cajun seasoning and bake on a baking sheet sprayed with Pam cooking spray. Roast about 15 minutes.
*I prefer to use Zattaran's fish fry coating and saute the fish in a little olive oil.

-Add heavy cream to soup and stir to warm completely. Combine scallions, parsley, and reserved bacon (crumple)into a small bowl.

Ladle soup into bowls, top with a fish fillet, garnish with bacon mixture, and ENJOY!

Hope you like it!