Thursday 14 April 2011

Seafood Chowder

Time for another recipe I thought - seeing as how I am going out for the day and will not have one iota of crafting to report by the time we crawl home exhausted, in the evening. But happy. And we will be happy because there is going to be chocolate involved in our day. That means it has to be good, doesn't it?

Last night I made a seafood chowder for dinner. This is how I make mine - not based on any particular cook book - just the tossing together of tasty stuff.

Start off by poaching some smoked fish. I prefer an undyed smoked haddock. Undyed because the yellow stuff turns everything it touches an unnatural shade of yellow and that is not the look I am going for. Just pop the fish in a pan with half and inch of water.

Bring the pan to a boil, cook for a minute or two covered and then turn off the heat but leave the lid on the pan for five more minutes. That should do it. Remove the fish to a plate to cool and reserve the cooking liquid in a jug.

Chop two or three shallots, or a leek, or an onion (basically whatever you have on hand), and crush a clove of garlic - not too much for this dish.

Gently cook the shallots in a little olive oil over a low heat. You do not want to brown them. While they are softening peal two medium sized potatoes and cube them. Add the garlic to the pan, give it a quick stir and then add the potatoes and reserved liquid from cooking the fish. Add about a cup of fish stock. I could suggest you buy the finest, etc but I won't because I just use half of one of these handy cubes -

I don't use a whole cube because the stock from the smoked fish is salty as well and you need to make the chowder and taste it before deciding if it needs more salt. Cook the mixture until the potatoes are softened and then (after letting it cool some if you are more sensible than me) take to it with your hand blender until it is smooth.

If the mixture seems too thick add a little more water or stock. Peal and dice another couple of potatoes and add them to the pan and cook until softened. You will need to give it all a stir regularly as it has a tendency to stick at this stage.

Right, it is just about done now. All you have to do is add a small tin of sweet corn -

The smoked fish - which you will have flaked, removing and skin and bones.

And some prawns, or scallops, or whatever you fancy because it is your chowder not mine if you are actually making this. I put in some prawns because I had a big bag in the freezer (courtesy of my kind mother). Cook until your prawns have turned a lovely shade of pink and are firm but not rubbery.

Poor in a dollop of cream. You don't need very much. Just enough to add a certain something to the chowder. A couple of ounces should be adequate. Your chowder is done. Serve it up however you like - I sprinkled mine with chopped chives because it added a nice bit of colour but that is purely optional.

Add in  some nice bread. Buy it! No need to make it. And if you do, use an easy, peasy recipe that you chuck in your mixer and then let rise in your airing cupboard and is done in just over an hour.

That was last night's dinner. Now we are off on a day's adventures. Hope your day is equally fun as I hope ours will be.


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