Appetite For Life: Bermudian Adventure

What can I say?  I love food.  So, as I look over our vacation pictures from Bermuda, I have to chuckle at how many of the pictures are of food.  The food pictures were just as important to capture as those of the Bermudian sites.  I even had my husband taking pictures of his dishes.  Thank goodness he appreciates and tolerates my obsession.
The food in Bermuda is not as tropical as I imagined it would be.  While lots of fresh seafood and fruit are used, it’s combined in a fusion that goes beyond its tropical locale.  Asian and Mediterranean flavors prevail.  If you are not that adventurous, there are burgers and steaks in abundance.  As they say, something for everyone.
As we ventured around the city of Hamilton, I had a prepared list of restaurants I was dying to try.  None of them let us down.  The Hogpenny, Pickled Onion and Lobster Pot – all offered different and delectable options.  The Hogpenny introduced Dustin to the British staple steak and kidney pie and me to roasted pork belly.  We also had a round of the famous Bermudian fish chowder.  We completed the meal with sticky toffee pudding.
Below is a recipe for the fish chowder.  Among its complex flavors are Bermudian Dark Rum and Sherry Pepper Sauce.  I am hoping this recipe will be as close to the Pickled Onion’s version as possible.  If not, I may start an email campaign to their head chef, pleading and groveling for the recipe.  One final note – if you don’t like fish, don’t pass this recipe by.  The fish used is very mild and is almost impossible to detect in the chowder.

Bermuda Fish Chowder
By Edward Bottone (from

4 qts water
2 lbs fish fillets (Rockfish, Sea Bass) or 5 lbs Grouper heads
1 tbs fresh thyme
6 bay leaves
20 peppercorns
¼ tsp ground cloves
2 tbs butter
2 tbs olive oil
3 large Bermuda onions, chopped
1 large clove garlic, minced
1 stalk (8 ribs) of celery, chopped
2 green bell peppers
28 oz can of whole tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1½ cup chicken broth
1 cup catsup
½ cup parsley, chopped
2 tbs Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
2 lbs potatoes peeled, small dice
6 large carrots peeled, small dice
Freshly ground pepper to taste
2 oz Gosling’s Black Seal Rum
4 tbs sherry pepper


  1. In a large pot bring the water to a boil and put in the fish fillets, salt and spices. Lower flame and simmer for 45 minutes. In another cauldron large enough to contain all of the ingredients, melt the butter and oil together and sauté the onions and garlic until just golden.
  2. Add the celery and green peppers and sauté another few minutes. Add the tomatoes and broth and simmer for 30 minutes. Now strain the fish stock into the cauldron. Pick out the fish and add it to the pot as well, discard the spices. Add the remaining vegetables to the pot and simmer partially covered for two hours.
  3. The soup should be thickened, but not thick, and be a dark reddish-brown and very aromatic. If not thick enough, you may resort to a little cornstarch and water, stirred into the boiling soup, I won’t tell.
  4. At the end of the cooking time, add the sherry peppers sauce and Black Seal Rum. Serve immediately, or allow to cool and keep a day for more intense flavors. At serving time pass cruets of additional Black Seal Rum and sherry peppers sauce for the brave.

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