Hearty Halibut Chowder - Instantpot

Soup Sunday's are a family tradition; almost every Sunday we eat at my parents. I love it for multiple reasons and having one night off from cooking is definitely at the top of the list. When we skip a Sunday, which happens a lot in the summer simply because soup is not so appetizing if the weather's good, my kids always ask "wait, what day is it?! we haven't had Soup Sunday?!?" they are not happy if we skip.

One of the reasons I love my Instantpot is for soup, while we make soup on the stove top just fine, the Instantpot really seems to amplify the flavors in a short amount of time, which I especially appreciate when I don't have any broth around and refuse to buy it from the store. Both broth and salad dressing have been nixed from my grocery lists, simply because they are so easy to make, so if I don't buy them, I force myself to make them. One of my odd habits, but most the time it works- more so for the salad dressing than the broth.

Broth really doesn't take too long in the Instantpot, compared to stove top, but I prefer just using water and throwing everything in there at once...unless, of course, I actually have broth premade. This particular recipe is a staple that we change a little each time we make it; this week we had lots of rutabagas, so it was the perfect opportunity to make the soup even heartier. I also recently started adding kale to our chowder. I was making smoked salmon chowder when it dawned on me how similar it is to Zuppa Toscana, so I threw some kale in there, too, and it kind of became my new favorite addition to chowder. There are lots of notes at the bottom of the recipe on various ways to modify it, it's really just a base to get you started. 

Hearty Halibut Chowder

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 large onion, diced

3 cloves garlic, minced

6 potatoes, peeled and cubed

4 rutabagas, peeled and cubed

6 carrots, peeled and diced

1 can corn, drained

2 pounds halibut, cut in 1" cubes

1 teaspoon pepper

1-2 teaspoons herbamare or sea salt (to taste)

2 tablespoons fish sauce

6-10 cups water

1 bunch kale, chopped

1 cup dairy-free milk (or more, depending on how creamy you want it)

1/8 cup starch, if using, + 1/4 cup dairy-free milk, whisked together

1 package bacon, chopped and cooked


1. Prep all your veggies- dice onions, mince garlic, peel and cube potatoes and rutabagas and peel and dice carrots. 

2. Press sauté mode on your Instantpot; add in olive oil then add onions and garlic and stir for a few minutes, until translucent and soft. 

3. Add the potatoes, rutabagas, carrots and corn to the Instantpot, stir all together.

4. Add water until your a couple notches below the "max" line, then stir in the halibut pieces.

5. Stir in spices.

6. Put lid on the Instantpot, make sure valve is set to "sealing" and set on manual high for 10 minutes.

7. While soup is cooking, cut bacon into small pieces then cook on the stove top. Drain on a paper towel.

8. When Instantpot is done, place a dishtowel over the valve before very carefully releasing, you will have a lot of hot steam because of the liquid of the soup. It will burn, so very, very carefully release!

9. When pressure is released, open lid and add chopped kale, if using, chopped bacon, and about 1 cup dairy-free milk. Stir and add more salt and pepper if needed.

9. If you prefer a thicker chowder, you can whisk about 1/8 cup cornstarch or potato starch with dairy-free milk and stir into the soup, add more if needed.

Recipe Notes

* you can use different kinds of seafood, such as clams, salmon, cod, etc. one of our favorites is smoked salmon, we omit the bacon when we use it

* you can omit the rutabagas, carrots and kale for a more traditional chowder; we add them when we have them 

* it will still taste good without the corn, if you need corn-free

* the starch addition is a complete preference, half our family prefers no starch and the other half likes really thick chowder

* add as much milk as you prefer, I usually gauge it by stopping when it looks like chowder and subsequently adding more salt or herbamare and pepper, if needed. 

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