Bartrum Chowder for Seafood

“Bartrum Chowder for Seafood” 

Submitted by:

Foss Leach and Barry Clark,
Archaeozoology Laboratory, Museum of New Zealand, Wellington, New Zealand 

Butchery and Ethnographic Info: 

This recipe uses frames and fillets of several species of fish as well as various shellfish, which have specific cleaning instructions. Due to the complexity of this recipe, the cook is permitted a bottle of well-chilled buttery Marlborough Chardonnay during preparation and cooking.


  • 24 green-lipped mussels (Perna canaliculus, family Mytilidae) 
  • 2 frames w/o heads of small (35cm) snapper (Pagrus auratus, family Sparidae) 
  • Bouquet garni
  • Crushed pepper 
  • 3 spring onions – sliced 5mm thick 
  • ½ medium leek –sliced 
  • 10mm thick including green top 
  • 3 tblsp refined grape-seed oil 
  • 2 chopped shallots 
  • 1 large clove garlic – coarsely chopped 
  • 1 thumb sized piece of root ginger – finely cubed 
  • 1 large California red onion – finely cubed 
  • 3 medium potatoes – peeled and cubed (1cm cubes) 
  • 1 small red kumara (Ipomoea batatas) chopped in pea-sized pieces 
  • 1 tblsp butter 
  • 1 tblsp flour Milk 
  • 4 chopped up French beans 
  • 1 rash rindless shoulder bacon – finely chopped 
  • 1 fillet medium sized (45cm) red cod (Pseudophycis bachus, family Moridae) 
  • 2 fillets medium sized (35cm) tarakihi (Nemadactylus macropterus, family Cheilodactylidae) 
  • 1 fillet medium sized (45cm) blue moki (Latridopsis ciliaris, family Latrididae) 
  • 1 cup small shrimp (shelled and cleaned) 
  • 1 dozen Nelson dredge oysters (Tiostrea lutaria, family Ostreidae) 
  • 1 can 105g salmon in brine 
  • 17 scallops (Pecten novaezelandie, family Pectinidae) 
  • 1 small fillet (30cm) smoked tarahiki (Nemadactylus macropterus, family Chielodactylidae) 
  • 1full tsp. Garamasala curry paste 
  • 1/3 of a large capsicum pepper – finely cubed 
  • 1/3 of a large green pepper – finely cubed 
  • 1 400ml can of coconut cream 
  • 150ml full cream 


This recipe makes 4 litres so use a large stock pot. Prepare mussel stock: Place 24 green-lipped mussels in 600ml of water and bring to a boil until shells just open. Save the fluid in a small pot. Remove the flesh from the shells. Remove the byssus thread, and chop medium fine, and put back into the fluid. Prepare the fish stock: Combine frames minus heads of two small snapper, one frame including head of the medium sized blue moki, 1.2 litres water, bouquet garni, crushed pepper. Simmer for 45 minutes. Remove garni and strain through a sieve, scraping with a wooden spoon. Retain the fluid, and discard the bones. Cook the vegetables: Sauté the spring onions, leeks, shallots, and garlic in 3 tblsp of grape-seed oil in a non-stick fry pan. When partly cooked add the fresh ginger. Cook for just a few minutes so that the ginger does not begin to lose flavor. Retain the greens in a bowl. Place the California red onion in the fry pan. Lightly sauté the onion with a third cup of fish stock and a dash of grape-seed oil. Set aside. In a small pot, put the potatoes, the small red kumara and a small amount of water. Bring to a boil. When the potatoes are al dente, set aside (do not drain). Prepare Light Thickening: Put the butter and flour into the fry pan with enough milk to make ½ cup of thickening. Heat until it starts to thicken. Set aside. Preparing the Bartrum Chowder: Clean the stock pot – don’t heat the pot yet. Put in the fish stock, add the mussel stock. Put the greens in, and add the red onion and potatoes including their water. Add the thickening and French beans. Put in the bacon. Add the fish as follows -- but put it in whole, do not chop it up! One red cod fillet, two tarakihi fillets, one blue moki fillet. Add the small shrimp and the Nelson dredge oysters. Add the can of salmon and brine. Carefully clean the scallops, making sure to remove all vestiges of the eyes and mantle, and wash thoroughly. Coarsely chop the muscle and roe and add to the chowder. Add the smoked tarakihi, the Garamasala, and the peppers. Cooking the Bartrum Chowder: Turn on the chowder to a low heat setting so that it simmers gently. Add salt and pepper to taste. Stir occasionally to break up the fish. Slowly cook until the full flavor develops (test by tasting). This will be about 15 minutes after it starts to simmer. For a time, the smoked fish will dominate the flavor – when this starts to dissipate somewhat, the Bartrum Chowder will be developing the unique blend and texture for which it is rightly famous. Add the coconut cream and simmer for 2 minutes. Add the full cream and stir in immediately before serving, Serving and Eating the Bartrum Chowder: This chowder should be accompanied by fresh French bread and a second bottle of well-chilled buttery Marlborough Chardonnay.