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Seafood Chowder Recipe: Comfort in a Bowl

Seafood ChowderFor years sailors have piled the oceans bringing back fresh seafood and nothing could be more satisfying (or warming) than turning that seafood into chowder, a thick stew of fish, shellfish, and crustaceans. And nowhere on earth is seafood chowder more revered than in Nova Scotia, a Canadian province surrounded by four bodies of water–the Atlantic Ocean, the Bay of Fundy, the Northumberland Strait, and the Gulf of St. Lawrence–where many of its residents depend on fishing for their livelihoods. In fact, they’re so crazy about chowder in this ocean-going province, the tourism folks have created the Chowder Trail, complete with a passport that visitors fill out as they try different chowders and can mail in for the chance to win prizes.

La Cuising Robicheau

At La Cuisine Robicheau, they specialize in traditional Acadian (Cajun) dishes.

Chowders are as varied as the cooks who make them. They may contain almost any type of seafood and usually potatoes and onions. Some are so thick you can stand a spoon in them; others have a thin, creamy broth. During a recent journey to Nova Scotia, we tried more than a dozen chowders and, in my opinion, the best came from the Acadian restaurant La Cuisine Robicheau in Saulnierville, in southern Nova Scotia, and the owners of the restaurant, Nadine and Chef Scott Robicheau have generously shared their recipe with us.

Editor’s Note: This recipe feeds a crowd–enough for 25-30 one-cup servings. If that’s too much, simply cut the recipe in half.

The recipe calls for salted shallots, a local product available in jars in Nova Scotia. Salting fresh shallots was a way Acadians used to preserve onions over the winter. Essentially, you chop shallots and add them to a brine of salt and water for 24 hours. Then scoop them into a jar. If you’re interested in how to make your own salted shallots, check out this video featuring the late renown Acadian chef Paul Comeau of Chez Christophe

Nadine says some people find salted shallots too salty. It’s optional in this recipe.

The seafood in this recipe—haddock, scallops, and lobster—are all ingredients readily found in Nova Scotia. If they’re not available in your area, try substituting local seafood.

Recipe courtesy Nadine and Scott Robicheau, La Cuisine Robicheau

Seafood Chowder 2(1280x853)

This seafood chowder is loaded with seafood in a broth that’s creamy without being too thick.

Seafood Chowder

Makes 25-30 cup size portions

16 cups potatoes, diced

1 cup onion, diced

2 tbsp. salted shallots or fresh shallots with a little extra salt (optional)

Salt and pepper to taste

5 lbs haddock, cut in large pieces

3 lbs. scallops

1 lb. cooked lobster meat

Chef Scott Robicheau cooks up Acadian dishes at his restaurant in Saulnierville, NS.

Chef Scott Robicheau cooks up Acadian dishes at his restaurant in Saulnierville, NS.

2 cans Carnation evaporated milk

Brown onions in butter in an large pot and then add remaining ingredients. Fill with enough water to cover potatoes (about 2 inches above). Boil on high for about 5 minutes. Turn off heat, but leave the pot on the burner. Add the haddock pieces, scallops and cooked lobster meat.

Turn the burner to low, cover the pot and let simmer for about 10 minutes. This will cook the seafood (be careful not to overcook it).

Just before serving, add 2 cans Carnation milk.

Want to read more about Nova Scotia? Check out “Best of Southern Nova Scotia” for more things to see, do, places to stay, and, of course, great places to eat.

For more information about Nova Scotia, check out


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Bobbie Hasselbring, RFT Editor

RFT co-founder Bobbie Hasselbring has been a travel junkie her entire life. An award-winning writer and editor for more than 25 years and author of the regional food-travel bestsellers, The Chocolate Lover’s Guide to the Pacific Northwest and The Chocolate Lover’s Guide Cookbook, Bobbie is editor-in-chief at

9 thoughts on “Seafood Chowder Recipe: Comfort in a Bowl

    1. Bobbie Hasselbring, RFT EditorBobbie Hasselbring, RFT Editor Post author

      Hi Sue,
      I don’t know why not. The evaporated milk gives the chowder a rich, creamy texture and a nice mouthfeel. But I think whole lactose-free would work fine. If you try it, let us know how it goes. Thanks. — Bobbie, RFT Editor

  1. bruce boudreau

    would you please share your recipe of seafood lasagna ate it at Chez Christophe and wondered how they make it

    1. Bobbie Hasselbring, RFT EditorBobbie Hasselbring, RFT Editor Post author

      Hi Bruce,
      Unfortunately, the Chef at Chez Christophe died and the restaurant closed. However, I’ve got an email out to the chef at La Cuisine Robicheau (which is a worthy successor to Chez Christophe) asking if they’d be willing to share their seafood lasagna recipe (keep your fingers crossed because it’s delicious). Nadine Robicheau, wife of Chef Scott Robicheau, who works the front of the house at their restaurant, worked for a number of years at Chez Christophe and her goal has been to keep up the Chez Christophe tradition of producing excellent Acadian cuisine. If they share the recipe with us, we’ll definitely put it on Thanks for reading. — Bobbie, RFT Editor

      1. Bobbie Hasselbring, RFT EditorBobbie Hasselbring, RFT Editor Post author

        Hey Bruce,
        Nadine Robicheau replied right back to my request for the seafood lasagna recipe. She writes, “Sorry that’s a secret recipe.” Guess you’ll have to go visit them to enjoy that dish again. I know when I go back to Nova Scotia, their restaurant is definitely on my go-to list. — Bobbie, RFT Editor

  2. Patsy

    The only thing better than this chowder is a platter of all the above names seafood with all the trimmings & maybe add some mussels haha

    1. Bobbie Hasselbring, RFT EditorBobbie Hasselbring, RFT Editor Post author

      Hi Donna,
      Actually, I did mean plied. The definition: (of a vessel or vehicle) travel regularly over a route, typically for commercial purposes.
      “ferries ply across a strait to the island.” — Bobbie, RFT Editor

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