It had been some months since I last cooked my Smoked Haddock Chowder. Now I wouldn't go so far as to say that I'd forgotten how to do it, but I definitely needed to have a look at the recipe on Rhubarb & Ginger here.
A quick squizz down the recipe reminded me of how it went, what the ingredients were and I was away. Or so I thought.
It is amazing how, when you've been cooking something for long enough that you don't need the recipe to follow, how you can often develop that recipe just because you're not restricted by following the steps!
I suddenly found myself creating what was the same soup, but in a significantly quicker and less involved way - and without the butter! All of which resulted in a slightly healthier, delicious end product with no adverse effects from the new method.
I also left out the frozen peas, as I felt that they added a certain amount of unwanted water to the mix.
So, in order that I don't forget what I did (which is always possible) and to pass on to you this new, quicker, way of creating what has become a family favourite - here's how it goes!
SMOKED HADDOCK CHOWDER (serves 4)
a small glug of rapeseed oil
3 rashers of streaky bacon, fat removed as much as possible and chopped finely
1 onion, finely chopped
1 medium potato, peeled and cut into 1cm dice
1 leek, quartered, then sliced finely
2 pints full cream milk
100ml fish stock (I used Essential Cuisine fish stock powder, mixed with hot water)
a generous pinch of cayenne pepper
freshly ground black pepper to taste
3 tbsp plain flour
200g tin of Cannelini beans, drained (rinsed if in brine)
140g tin of sweetcorn
500g smoked haddock fillets, skin removed and cut into large chunks
sea salt to taste
2 tbsp finely chopped parsley.
1. In a large, deep saucepan, gently heat the rapeseed oil and add the bacon pieces. Fry until the bacon is cooked through, but not crispy.
2. Add the onion and potato and continue to fry until the onion is transparent and the potato is beginning to take on colour.
3. Add the leeks and continue to cook until softened.
4. Place the flour into a small bowl and wet it down with as little of the milk as it takes to achieve a wet, lump-free paste.
5. To the pan, add almost all the remainder of the milk (leave around 2-300ml) and all the stock, the cayenne and black peppers. Before heating through, add the flour paste and stir through.
6. Increase the heat under the pan and, continuing to stir, heat until the soup has thickened significantly and is simmering nicely. You can add a little more milk as the soup thickens, if you feel it requires it. You cannot leave the soup from this stage, without removing it from the heat, or you'll find it will burn on the bottom. So watch it like a hawk and stir!
7. While the soup is heating through, add the Cannelini beans and sweetcorn.
8. Once the soup is the consistency you want, taste for seasoning (remembering that the fish will add salt) and adjust if necessary.
9. Stir through one tablespoonful of the chopped parsley.
10. Add the chunks of fish and from henceforth in, stir very very gently, so as not to break the fish too badly. Allow to cook for another 3-4 minutes and test your fish chunks. Once they fall apart and are done, you are ready to serve.
11. Sprinkle each bowlful with a little of the remaining parsley.
Serve with warm crusty buttered rolls.