winter eats :: fish chowder
we New Englanders like our chowder. it's a classic dish and for me, usually a summertime one. which is odd, in a way. who wants hot soup in summer? but, it's so much a part of the culture here that it falls under the category of "that's just what we do." in fact, we eat a lot of strange stuff in the summer. greasy, heavy fried food. fish and chips, fried clams, french fries. then we chase it all down with some ice cream. what the hell are we thinking? no wonder there's a Dunkin' Donuts on every corner out here! our food habits are crazy!
with that, i give you an easy recipe for fish chowder. (chowdah!) what can i say, i had a craving. and this was totally yummy and great with a fresh, crusty loaf of bread with lots of cold butter. (buttah!) i adapted the recipe from williams-sonoma.
2 thick-cut bacon slices, chopped
1 leek, halved, rinsed and sliced
1 large russet potato, peeled and cut into small cubes
1/3 cup fresh corn kernels
1 1/2 cups fish stock or water
1 tsp. fresh chopped chives
1/2 tsp. salt, plus more, to taste
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
1/2 lb. cod or other firm white-fleshed fish fillets, pin bones removed and fillets cut into bite-size pieces
1 1/2 cups milk
In a Dutch oven or saucepan over medium-low heat, cook the bacon, stirring occasionally, until it renders most of its fat but is not crisp, about 4 minutes. Add the leek and potato and cook, stirring frequently, until the leek softens, 6 to 8 minutes.
Add the stock, the 1/2 tsp. salt and a pinch of pepper to the pan and bring just to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover and simmer until the potato is tender, about 20 minutes.
Season the fish lightly with salt and pepper. Add the fish, corn and milk to the pan and cook, uncovered, over medium-low heat until the fish easily flakes apart, about 10 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasonings with salt and pepper. Ladle the chowder into bowls, top with chopped chives and serve immediately.