Wild Game Wednesday: Great Lakes Chowder

Angling is one of Michigan’s most common outdoor pastimes. Over 1.5 million residents and non-residents buy fishing licenses every year and these dollars go back into keeping the resource healthy and sustainable. Fishing license dollars provide habitat restoration and protection, scientific research and monitoring, and fish stocking in areas that need it. If you’re thinking of trying out fishing, consider starting with Michigan whitefish! They can be found in all five of the Great Lakes and several of Michigan’s deep inland lakes. Whitefish can also be caught with a simple rod and reel, making it a great leisurely sport for Michiganders.

If you are looking for a healthy, local source of protein, consider Michigan whitefish. It’s a high-quality, low-cost protein with beneficial omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins and minerals. Michigan whitefish contains less fat, sodium, calories and cholesterol than beef or chicken. It also contains higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids than pink and sockeye salmon.

Whitefish has a sweet, delicate flavor and texture and can be incredibly fast and easy to cook. Check out this week’s recipe below for some tasty Great Lakes chowder, and I recommend making it with some yummy whitefish, enjoy!


Great Lakes Chowder

Serves: 8-10 people



8 OZ. Great Lakes Steelhead or Salmon, thawed, skin and pin bones removed, ½” Cube

8 OZ. Great Lakes white fish fillets – perch, bluegill, whitefish, catfish, crappie, etc. – thawed, skin and pin bones removed, ½” Cube

2 OZ. bacon diced

1 bunch green onions, chopped

3 medium potatoes, peeled & diced

1 TSP. salt

1/8 TSP. white pepper

1 CUP dry Sherry

1 QT. fish stock or vegetable stock

1 QT. whole milk or heavy cream

8 OZ. butter, softened

8 OZ. cup flour, sifted

Sourdough croutons



  1. In a large heavy pot, sauté bacon and onions together over medium heat until onions are soft and translucent. Add salt, pepper, dry Sherry, and fish stock. Bring to a boil, then add cubed fish and flash cook for about five minutes. Strain out the fish, onions, and bacon – reserving the liquid. Add potatoes to liquid and bring to boil, straining out the potatoes once cooked to just past el dente, keep separate from fish, reserving the liquid. Add milk to the reserved broth and bring to a simmer for 10 minutes.
  2. While broth is simmering – prepare a roux: In a small saucepan, heat butter until melted, add flour a spoonful at a time, mixing until well incorporated. Stir 1 quart of liquids from chowder into butter/flour mixture and mix until a smooth paste is formed. Mix roux paste into chowder and heat over low flame until thick.
  3. Add cooked cubed potatoes to chowder
  4. DO NOT ADD FISH – until just before serving. This will keep the cubed fish from disintegrating into the chowder as you stir. If you plan to serve the chowder the following day – just reheat the chowder to 165° and add cold cubed fish to the chowder to warm it up.
  5. Portion into individual bowls and top with croutons.

For a relaxing drink to serve with the chowder, whitefish pairs well with Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc, Viognier or Riesling wines or a light lager or wheat beer.

Check back every Wednesday for a new Wild Game Dish recipe, proudly used by MUCC’s Gourmet Gone Wild program! If you’re looking for more wild game and fish recipes check out the MUCC online store and purchase a copy of Wild Gourmet!



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