I’ve articulated my love for soup previously on these pages; lauding its lunchtime prowess, but it often gets overlooked as a contender for an evening meal in favour of something with a bit more substance. This recipe for a spicy, smokey haddock and corn chowder – in no small part inspired by my missing out of a similar offering by Fish& at the weekend’s Belgrave Street Feast – is the epitome of substance, with big morsels of smoked fish and a satisfying melee of hearty vegetables lurking in a thick, nuanced liquor.
Another good thing about the chowder is that it’s as healthy as you want to make it – swap some of the milk for single cream and serve with a big crusty cob if you’d prefer a comforting treat, or if you want to boost your vitamin intake then there’s nothing stopping you adding a couple of diced carrots or leeks, and forgoing the potato.
- 2 Smoked Haddock Fillets
- 1 tin of Sweetcorn
- 2 Onions, finely diced
- 2 sticks of Celery, halved and finely sliced
- 1 Potato, 1cm-2cm dice
- 1 litre of Stock (I used half/half vegetable & fish)
- 1 pint of Milk
- 2 Bay leaves
- 1 Green Chilli
- Juice of half a lime
- Sautee the onions and celery in oil and a little butter until translucent and brown – this should take about 10-15 minutes over a low heat. Deseed the chilli, dice half of it and add it to the onion and celery mixture. Cook it gently for a minute or so, but only until it’s absorbed some of the oils from the pan, it shouldn’t change colour.
- Add the stock and lime juice to the onions and celery, and bring to a simmer. Meanwhile, poach the haddock fillets in a pan containing the milk, bay leaves and a few whole peppercorns.
- While the haddock poaches, toast the sweetcorn in a dry pan until the kernels begin to brown and char on the edges. Don’t be tempted to add any oil to the pan, as they release a lovely rich oil when heated up. Add them to the stock soup stock.
- After simmering for about ten minutes you’ll notice the flesh become tender to the touch, and the edges of the skin starting to peel away slightly. Remove the fillets from the milky broth and place the pan ro one side. Flake the haddock flesh off the skin – it should fall off without too much coercing – and into the stock pot.
- Strain the peppercorns, bay leaves and milk skin from the poaching broth, and add the liquid into the stock. Add the diced potato and continue to simmer for about 5 minutes, until the potato’s surface areas starts to release some floury starch and thicken the chowder, but before it breaks down completely.
- Serve garnished with shards of toasted tortillas, a wedge of lime, a dollop of quark (or sour cream or creme fraisch, depending on your preference), and a sprinkle of thinly-sliced green chilli or cayenne pepper.