Nova Scotia Seafood Chowder

Irresistibly rich and silky, this Nova Scotia Seafood Chowder is packed with flavour and texture.

Nova Scotia Seafood Chowder

Hello, everyone. Happy Old New Year. Yes, you heard it right. And you don’t need to call an ambulance for me. I haven’t lost my mind (yet).

And I am not joking either. Russia just celebrated so-called “Old New Year” (The eve was on January 13th). Confusing, eh? I know. But everything is simple clear as mud indeed. If you don’t mind, I’ll briefly clarify this thing.

Like many countries, Russia starts a new year on January 1st, and I can say the New Year’s Eve is the main celebration of the year (Compared to North America where Christmas gets all the attention). However, when Russia (The Government) officially adopted the Gregorian calendar in 1918, the Russian Orthodox Church continued to use the Julian calendar and celebrate New Year 2 weeks later. New Year become a holiday which was celebrated by two calendars. So “Old” New Year simply refers to the New Year according to the old calendar, before 1918.

Although this Old New Year is no longer an official holiday (I honestly don’t even know when it stopped being a thing), it’s still informally observed and celebrated by many people. As a kid, I did like this extra holiday too! I believe it’s a way to finally wrap up the holiday season (By the way, Russia has very long winter holidays. Probably even way too long. I think this time the statutory holidays lasted for about 10 days.)

Anyway, while we aren’t celebrating Old New Year, we can absolutely celebrate almost the mid of January, right? And this Nova Scotia Seafood Chowder is an excellent way to enjoy some comfort food. That’s quiescence of comfort food, in my book.

I made this recipe a couple of days before Christmas, and we decided to splurge a bit that time. After all, holidays are about some extravagance. As a result, this chowder isn’t a budget-friendly thing, but I didn’t promise you money-saving recipes today. Besides traditional white fish and mussels, I incorporated in this chowder mini scallops (Was a great deal) and frozen lobster meat (Was an amazing deal). I never handled a lobster before, so I decided frozen meat would work. But I also bought a couple of lobster tails. I won’t lie: mostly for the styling. (They look sexy in a bowl, aren’t they?) What else? Even though I’d never used clam juice either, most authentic recipes recommended getting a bottle, and I don’t regret. Potatoes, thyme, and a touch of smoked paprika perfectly finish the picture. As you see, while this recipe isn’t budget-friendly, it’s 100% worth of all spent money. On the other hand, both of us were enjoying this chowder for two days in a raw (And one day we had it twice!), so it yields roughly 6 generous servings. Less than 10$ for a huge bowl of chowder isn’t bad at all – at least if you go out in Nova Scotia, you can get a small bowl of soup for about 7$.

I hope I’ve given you enough reasons to make this Nova Scotia Seafood Chowder. Well, maybe not right now because we all pay our Christmas bills in January :) Just save it for future.

Happy Old New Year.


Nova Scotia Seafood Chowder

Category: Soup


  • 2 pounds fresh mussels
  • 2/3 cup white wine
  • 1 medium white onion, finely chopped
  • 3 tbsp. butter
  • 3-4 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • jar (about 220 ml) of clam juice
  • salt and white pepper, to taste
  • 1 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 300 gr.white fish filet (I used cod)
  • 1 can (300 gr.) frozen lobster meat
  • 2-3 lobster tails (optional)
  • 300 gr. mini scallops
  • 2 - 2,5 cups 18% cream
  • 2 tbsp. fresh thyme, chopped + more to garnish


  1. First of all, start with sorting and discarding mussels which are broken or chipped. Note that mussels should be tightly closed. If some of them are open, tap the shell on their hard surface, and if it closes, it's safe to eat it.
  2. Once sorted out the good mussels, if they look nice and clean (cultivated mussels are normally clean), you don't need to soak them. Otherwise, soak the mussels in cold water for 15-20 minutes. Personally, although the mussels I had were clean, I still soaked them for 5 minutes before cleaning.
  3. Next, scrub the mussels under cold running water and remove the breads (kind of threads or fibers which are easy to remove by grasping and pulling). Drain the clean mussels.
  4. Add the white wine and a bit of water if necessary (The liquid should just lightly cover the bottom (like 0,5 cm thick) of the pan. We don't cook the mussels in water - we basically steam it). Add the mussels, cover, and cook over medium heat for 4-6 minutes or until they are open. The mussels which don't open, should be discarded as well.
  5. Remove the mussels and reserve the liquid. Remove most of the hard shells reserving some for decoration.
  6. In a large pan melt the butter and cook the onions, 5-6 minutes until soft.
  7. Add the cubed potatoes, clam juice, reserved mussel juice, and some more water to cover the potatoes. Season with the salt, white pepper, and paprika. Cover and cook for about 10-15 minutes or until the potatoes are almost fully tender (depends on the kind).
  8. Reduce heat. Add the white fish (broken into pieces), canned lobster meat, scallops, and cook for about 5 minutes.
  9. Stir in the cream, mussels, and thyme. Stir until heated through, 2-3 minutes.
  10. Serve with extra thyme.
  11. Enjoy!

9 thoughts on “Nova Scotia Seafood Chowder

  1. I’m back!! :-)

    What an interesting story about Old New Year. Happy Old New Year to you, my friend. Also, I totally know what you mean about lobster tails for styling. These photos look awesome! I want to grab a spoon and dig into this bowl. With all of the snow we had this past weekend, a good chowder would be a welcome addition to our menu. Looks and sounds delicious, Ben!
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  2. Happy Old New Year, Ben! Love the stories behind such holidays. This chowder is so worth the indulgence, and totally fine in my book. An expensive dish at home is still cheaper than eating out! This looks divine and has me craving chowder. I don’t think I can have it without lobster after seeing this!

  3. We NEED to celebrate a holiday in January. After Christmas it’s just so BLAH for the next few months, I guess with the exception of Valentine’s Day! I’ve never made seafood chowder, it intimidates me! I might have to give your recipe a go, because I do love EATING seafood chowder!

  4. I love the idea of a holiday smack in the middle of January. It’s kind of a way to ease out of the holiday season. Maybe we should try to bring the informal Russian tradition to North America? And this chowder sounds awesome! Very cozy and warming for those chilly January nights. Happy Friday eve!

  5. First I’ve heard of ‘old new year’. Very interesting! I think this seafood chowder is totally worth the cost. This looks AMAZING, Ben! Hubby and I usually make seafood chowder during or right before Christmas and we didn’t this year, so it’s on our to-do over winter. We love it, especially with a big hunk o bread…and wine. I’ll have to give yours a try next time. Looks so decadently delish!

  6. Ben, this soup looks stunning and sounds amazing! I love anything with mussels, and didn’t know one could find frozen lobster meat – I’ll for sure be on the hunt for that! I love the bounty of seafood in it, and you’re right, while not the most budget-friendly, totally worth it for a special occasion. And, I have to say, having a “New Year” and an “Old New Year”, while confusing, is a great way to celebrate! Thanks or the recipe and lovely presentation of it!

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