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Surf-n-Turf Chowder

A recipe for tasty chowder, using relatively low-cost ingredients. Fresh fish and salt pork can certainly be used as ingredients here, but the cost of this dish will be much higher as a result. This is meant as a chowder dish for people who can't spend extravagant amounts of money but still enjoy cooking good food.

Cook bacon in a five-quart Dutch oven over medium heat until crisp. Remove the bacon with a metal or wooden slotted spoon. Drain the bacon fat into a glass container, leaving two tablespoons of drippings in the pot. Set the bacon aside. Put the drippings aside, to be used in other cooking or seasoning your cast iron.

In the dutch oven, sauté the onions in the hot bacon drippings over medium-high heat for three minutes (that's all you'll need in a hot bare iron pot), or until tender. Add potatoes, 4 cups water, and wine. Bring to a boil, uncovered. Reduce heat to about the four-tenths mark and simmer, uncovered, 12 to 15 minutes or until potatoes are almost tender. Add the canned fish over the potatoes; cover and simmer 10 to 12 minutes or until the fish is breaking apart and dissolving into the chowder. Add milk, salt, ground pepper. Mix everything together, using your ladle to break up large chunks of fish as you uncover them while stirring. After stirring, cover the pot once again, reduce heat to about the three-tenths level, and let it simmer further for 30 minutes until thoroughly heated. Top each serving with cooked bacon, parsley, and paprika. Serve with bread or crackers.

(If you're making this chowder in advance for serving later, remove the chowder from the dutch oven and into a storage container. Before covering the container, sprinkle one teaspoon of parsley and 1/2 teaspoon of paprika over the surface of the chowder, then spread the bacon over the top. Cover and place in storage, in the refrigerator or wherever, until you're ready to heat it and serve.)