Before making this dish, we knew two things about Bermuda: shorts and Triangle. We’ve now bumped this up to three things, having added its traditional fish chowder to our repertoire. Unlike the creamy, thick chowders we’re used to, Bermuda’s version has a tomato base and isn’t stodgy at all. It’s also very spicy, thanks to the addition of chilli sauce (more on that in a minute) and is so full of vegetables that ‘fish chowder’ is almost a misnomer. Recipes on the Internet are all pretty similar but we thought The Bermudian seemed a reputable enough source – we just made a few tweaks here and there.
A note on a couple of key ingredients: to make this the proper Bermudian way, you’d use Outerbridge’s Original Sherry Peppers Sauce (which, from what we can gather, is essentially chilli peppers steeped in sherry until they pickle) and Gosling’s Black Seal Rum. We couldn’t find any source of the sauce in the UK but had a bottle of Jamaican Style Pepper Sauce, which seemed close enough – but halved the amount in the recipe due to its self-proclaimed (and entirely accurate) ‘extreme’ heat. And we subbed in Mount Gay rum for Gosling’s – again, it seemed close enough!
2 litres water
400g (approx.) white fish fillets
Salt, thyme, bay leaves, peppercorns, ground cloves (yep – that specific! We went for a pinch of salt, a couple of sprigs of thyme, two bay leaves, about a dozen peppercorns and 4-5 cloves)
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp oil
450g potatoes, peeled and diced
2 small onions, chopped
4 celery stalks, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 green pepper, chopped
3 carrots, diced
1/4 cup parsley, chopped
1 can peeled plum tomatoes
150ml beef stock
1/2 cup ketchup
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp lemon juice
25ml dark rum
2 tbsp sherry peppers sauce (or 1 tbsp Jamaican hot sauce)
Ground pepper to taste
1. In a large pot, put the water, fish fillets, salt and spices. Bring to the boil and let simmer for 30-45 minutes.
2. In a frying pan, melt the butter with the oil and sauté the onions, celery, garlic and green pepper. Add the tomatoes and stock and simmer for 30 minutes.
3. Transfer this mixture to the fish water and add remaining ingredients. Simmer partially covered for 2 hours, adjusting the seasoning to your liking.
Look at all those yummy, colourful, healthy things!
As mentioned earlier, this isn’t chowder as we know it, but we really enjoyed it, and would make it again. It wasn’t difficult at all: it took time (to both prepare the vegetables and to actually cook it) but very little effort, and it was easily substantial enough to sustain us (plus there’s basically nothing naughty in it!). It’s also light enough to work in summer, but warming enough to work in winter. Be warned that it is spicy, although removing the chilli sauce would change that easily. We did find that there was a little too much liquid for the amount of fish and vegetables, but that meant that we ended up with one serving of spicy broth for Ash’s lunch the next day. Overall, a success!