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Chilean Conger Chowder (Caldillo de Congrio) Recipe
Chilean Conger Chowder (Caldillo de Congrio) Recipe

Conger chowder or Broth of conger (Caldillo de Confrio in Spanish) is a typical Chilean dish, recognized from north to south, perfect for warming up on a cold day, and which Nobel Prize-winning poet Pablo Neruda immortalized in a poem called “Ode to Conger Chowder” published in his book Elemental Odes.

How to make Conger Chowder?

Before starting to make the conger chowder, it is highly recommended to have all the ingredients separated and distributed (“mise en place”) in order to develop the recipe step by step without interruptions.

Nutritional Information

Category: Soups
Cuisine: Chilean
Calories: 450
Preparation: 60 minutes
Cooking: 60 minutes
Servings: 6 people

Chilean Conger Chowder recipe


1. Conger chowder

  • 1 whole red conger
  • 500 g peeled shrimp
  • 12 cherry tomatoes
  • 6 potatoes
  • 2 red peppers
  • 2 green peppers
  • 1 cup of peas
  • 1 sprig of cilantro

2. Fish broth

  • 2 liters of water
  • 500 ml of white wine
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 conger head
  • 1 onion
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 celery stick
  • Parsley
  • Cumin
  • Cilantro
  • Salt
  • Pepper

3. Garlic paste

  • 10 garlic cloves
  • Olive oil

4. Thickener

  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 cup of cream


  1. Take the red conger and cut off the head, remove the gills and chop it into medium-sized medallions of about 3 to 4 centimeters wide. Set aside.
  2. For the chowder, place the conger head without gills and eyes in a large pot, add the chopped carrot, onion, a little pepper, and a few celery branches, bring to a boil and add the white wine. Keep cooking with the pot uncovered for about 30 minutes.
  3. In a pan, make a sauté with the onion cut into feathers, the pepper cut into strips, and the garlic paste (a mixture of ground garlic and olive oil). Add the tomato cut into small squares and season with oregano, cumin, and cilantro. Optionally, add bay leaves or merkén.
  4. In a large pot, preferably a clay one, add a dash of oil and spread it over the entire surface, then bake in the oven at medium temperature for about 15 minutes.
  5. Add the sauté to the pot, potatoes with skin, carrot sliced, and a little shelled peas. Add the broth and cook for another 15 minutes until the potatoes are cooked.
  6. Add the conger medallions and continue cooking, removing the fat and foam that the broth releases. Optionally incorporate a little chives. The conger cooking will be ready as soon as it begins to break down a little. Additionally, at this point, Pablo Neruda’s recipe includes peeled shrimp to add an additional touch of flavor.
  7. In a small bowl, beat the egg and cream. Set aside for assembly.
  8. Serve the conger chowder hot by distributing the potatoes and conger medallion in a deep plate, then the broth, a dash of the egg and cream mixture, and top with freshly chopped cilantro.

Tips for a perfect congrio broth

The mixture of cream and egg yolk may be optional, but it helps to give greater consistency and a silky texture to the broth. Some call it the “Nerudian touch.”

Did you know?

In the city of Tocopilla, there is a delicious variant of congrio broth that includes two macerated sea urchin tongues, two whole fresh sea urchin tongues, and two chopped piures.


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