The craving for some sort of fish soup seems to be going around these days. I was thinking about fish chowder last week when I was going through some old food magazines, combing for ideas, and then The Omnomicon featured a fish chowder earlier this week. Then I was talking to a friend last night, and despite not really liking fish all that much, she admitted that she had been thinking about making a fish chowder! With the stars happily aligned, I went straight to the butcher.
A good chowder starts with bacon. I bought good bacon. My elderly Polish butcher told me this is the best bacon for soup. It was pretty good. And beautiful.
I also bought:
2 medium leeks (whites only, halved and thinly sliced)
2 bunches of green onions (whites only, thinly sliced)
3 medium white potatoes (peel on, in 1 cm cubes)
1 c frozen/fresh/canned corn kernels
2 bay leaves
1/4 tsp thyme
1 small sweet red pepper (finely chopped)
6 c broth (fish or veggie or chicken)
1 can of crab meat
1 c heavy cream
2 filets of firm white fish (I used tilapia because it was on sale for some reason) cut into 1" chunks.
1. Heat up your dutch oven/stock pot and fry that bacon. Add the leeks part way through, and when the bacon is almost cooked, throw in the green onions. Now, my type of bacon didn't release its fat. Yours might, if you use regular bacon, so you may have to pour off some (but not all) before the next step.
2. Add your stock and potatoes along with the herbs and bring to a boil.
3. When the potatoes are soft, reduce the heat and add the crab (don't drain it!), the pepper, and the corn and cook until the pepper is softened. Then, when you're five minutes away from eating, add the fish and simmer until the fish is opaque throughout.
4. Heat up the cream in the microvave and stir it gently into the chowder.
I served this with a whole wheat variation on the french bread I made last week and it went over very well! This makes a big batch - enough to feed 6 or 8 for dinner - but it keeps in the fridge and it's even better on the second day.