Recipe of the Month: Fish chowder

April 01 2022
Recipe of the Month: Fish chowder

With Cooking4 Cookery School founder Ann Murray

AT the moment, when the world is in such confusion, beset with fears and anxiety, I personally appreciate like never before the joy of spending time with family and friends.

We are safe, we have good food on our plates and for all this, I feel so lucky.

A friend put me on to a scheme organised by John Lewis which I didn’t know about.

Just in case you were thinking of donating, the John Lewis Partnership will match any donations (up to another £150,000) to the British Red Cross.

More details can be found online at johnlewispartnership.co.uk.

It seems very mundane after such serious matters to give you a recipe, but that is kind of what I do.

So here it is, a creamy, satisfying fish chowder.

A chowder is a thick soup made with fish and/or seafood, potatoes, bacon and corn. The recipe was supposedly brought by Breton fisherman to New England, Nova Scotia and along that coast.

It soon became a firm favourite, because of its versatility and quick preparation time. You can prep it in the morning and reheat for your guests at an appropriate time. If doing this, leave out the cream or crème fraiche until just before serving.

Fast Fish Chowder

Serves 4 

Ingredients:

 

  • 4 rashers of smoked streaky bacon.

  • A small bunch of spring onions.

  • 2 carrots, peeled and cut in chunky rings

  • 500g red-skinned potatoes.

  • 200g fillet of smoked haddock mixed with 100g salmon fillet, both skin off and pin boned

  • 3 fresh bay leaves.

  • 3 sprigs of fresh thyme.

  • 1 litre of vegetable stock.

  • 150ml single cream or crème fraiche

  • 200g corn kernels – either frozen or tinned.

  • 200g raw prawns or if you want to splash out, a few scallops

  • 1 x 150g pack of matzo crackers or similar dry crackers (look in your supermarket in the specialist or organic section.) – optional.

 

Method: 

 

  1. Finely chop the bacon and dry fry it in a deep frying pan until brown and crispy.

  2. Trim and finely slice the spring onions and prep the carrots. Add to the pan with the bacon and stir. 

  3. Wash the potatoes and chop into 2cm chunks (no need to peel). 

  4. Add the potatoes to the pan and mix well, stirring often so that the mixture doesn’t burn. Fry until golden brown.

  5. Cover with the vegetable stock and using a medium heat, bring to the boil (uncovered).

  6. Then put the lid on, turn down the heat to a simmer and cook for 12 minutes until the potatoes are cooked through. 

  7. Stir from time to time.

  8. Once the potatoes are cooked, using a slotted spoon, remove about half and crush roughly with a potato masher.

  9. Return to the pan. This will thicken the sauce nicely.

  10. Add the smoked haddock and salmon (all in 1 piece – as it cooks it will naturally flak into smaller pieces) to the pan with 3 bay leaves and the leaves from 3 sprigs of thyme. 

  11. Add the single cream or crème fraiche, corn and the peeled prawns to the chowder and stir well. 

  12. Turn the heat up to bring the chowder back to bubbling hot.

  13. Put the lid back on and turn the heat down to low. 

  14. Cook for 3-4 mins until the prawns are cooked through (they’ll go pink).

  15. If using, serve the matzo crackers separately. Break and sprinkle some on top just before serving.

  16. Serve with vegetables in season, crunchy carrots, leeks, green beans or dark green cabbage.