This is an easy, hearty main course soup – a delicious, complete meal in a bowl that tastes even better the next day. A perfect cold weather soup.
I started making this way back in the 80’s when I still lived in the UK and fresh, uncooked, oak-smoked haddock was available everywhere (and still is) – so, if you can get your hands on smoked haddock or cod, use that.
I’ve adapted it over here in the US by using smoked whitefish which is excellent and quite readily available, especially in the Great Lakes region – but as it’s pre-cooked, it lacks the big, soft, juicy flakes of a really good British smoked fish. Using fresh cod in this recipe will make up for that.
Serve it with some hot, fragrant, buttery, herby garlic bread.
SMOKED FISH CHOWDER
3 medium sized leeks, white and tender green parts only, cleaned and shredded
1 fat clove of garlic, finely chopped
8 oz (228g) of lean smoked bacon, pancetta or ham, chopped
1/2 teaspoon of dried marjoram
2 tablespoons of extra-v olive oil
28 oz (800g) of chopped canned tomatoes including all their juice
10 oz (285g) of small red potatoes – washed, left unpeeled and cut into smallish chunks
2 pints (1.15ltr) of chicken or vegetable stock
1 cup measure (228ml) of defrosted sweetcorn kernels
1.5 lbs (.70 kilo) of fresh cod or similar firm white fish, cut into 2 inch (50mm) chunks
4-6 oz (115-170g) of smoked haddock, cod or whitefish
Optional pinch (or more) of dried red chili flakes
Sea salt, freshly ground black pepper
Chopped fresh parsley
In a large heavy pan with a lid, heat the olive oil and sauté the leeks, garlic, bacon (or ham) and marjoram for approx 4 minutes; reduce the heat to low, put the lid on and allow it to sweat until the leeks are tender – approx 10 minutes.
Add the stock, cubed potatoes, canned tomatoes, sweetcorn and chili flakes if using. Simmer, covered until the potatoes are just tender. Give it a good grind of sea salt and black pepper to taste.
Carefully add all the fish and simmer very gently until the the cod (or whatever you’re using) becomes opaque, approx 10 minutes. Stir very gently, check the seasoning once more then serve in hot bowls with chopped fresh parsley scattered over.
Not only does this taste better on days 2 and three, it also freezes well – re-heat very, very gently and be careful not to over-stir or you’ll break up the fish pieces.