Chow Down on Illinois Chowder

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In New England, chowder refers to a thick seafood soup. But in Southeastern Illinois, chowder is made up of more than fish, clams and corn.

In this region, the word “chowder” refers not only to the actual soup, but also to the social gathering where chowder is made and served.

Each community uses its own variation of the traditional recipe: salt pork, onions and cubed potatoes. The chowder is cooked outside in 20- to 70-gallon cauldrons for about four hours. Every ingredient is added to boiling water according to how long it needs to cook, so everything in the chowder will be ready at the same time. The kettles are stirred continuously with a long wooden paddle to prevent scorching.

Chowders are held as early as April and through the end of October. Traditionally, communities begin cooking their chowders when tomatoes start to ripen. The first heavy frost in the fall ends the events for the year.

Some of the towns that annually host chowders include Elm River, Wynoose, Berryville, Noble, Claremont, Saint Francisville, Lancaster, Dundas, West Salem, Newton, Bone Gap and more. Find a complete list of Southern Illinois chowders at southeastillinois.com or by searching “chowder” on the the Tourism Bureau Illinois South’s events calendar.

5 Comments

  1. david harris

    June 27, 2015 at 9:47 pm

    I have searched high & low for 2015 chowder dates. I only find out of date dates. Is there information that is accessible and current?

    Thank you,

    David Harris

    • Jessy Yancey

      July 17, 2015 at 9:38 am

      Hi David,

      We have had a difficult time finding updated chowder dates for 2015. You might try to contact the Southeastern Illinois Convention & Visitors Bureau at 877-273-4554. Hope this helps!

      Best,
      Jessy Yancey
      editor, Illinois Partners

  2. Barbara Swinson

    July 11, 2017 at 11:17 pm

    I need a list of dates of Richland count chowder s the 2017 so I can share with classmates who live outside of area.

    • Stephanie shock

      August 30, 2017 at 9:25 am

      Same here. I need a list

      • Jessy Yancey

        September 19, 2017 at 3:22 pm

        Sorry, we don’t have updated ones for 2017. You might try to contact the Southeastern Illinois Convention & Visitors Bureau at 877-273-4554. Hope this helps!
        Best,
        Jessy Yancey
        editor, Illinois Partners

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