Sunday, 25 January 2009

Smoked cod, leek and watercress chowder

If you're a) not a haggis-lover, b) haven't decided what to cook tonight but feel like something vaguely Scottish and are c) reasonably near the shops, here's an idea. It was prompted by a reduction on a pack of smoked cod in Somerfield yesterday which made me think of making Cullen Skink. Not that I could remember exactly what went into Cullen Skink but I bought a couple of leeks, a potato and a carton of soy milk (my husband is dairy-intolerant) and hoped for the best.

I was just bemoaning the lack of parsley to finish it off when I remembered I had the tail end of a pack of watercress which proved a very good addition. As did a few shavings of parmesan. The result: more of a chowder rather than a Scottish fish soup but none the worse for that.

Serves 2-4 depending whether you're eating anything else.

1 medium to large potato (about 250g)
2 medium leeks
1 tbsp olive or sunflower oil
15g butter
200g smoked cod or haddock fillets
450-500ml whole milk or soy milk
A handful of roughly chopped watercress or some finely chopped parsley
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Grated parmesan to serve (optional)

Peel the potato and cut into smallish cubes. Cover with cold water, bring to the boil and simmer for about 10 minutes until the potato is just tender. Meanwhile trim, wash and finely slice the leeks then give them another rinse. Heat the oil in a heavy-bottomed saucepan or casserole, add the butter then tip in the leeks and stir. Put a lid on the pan and cook for 3-4 minutes until the leeks start to soften. Add the cod or haddock fillets, pour over enough milk to cover, bring up to simmering point then leave over a low heat for about 4-5 minutes until the fish is cooked. Remove the fish with a fish slice and set aside. Tip the potatoes and about 100ml of their water into the leeks and add the watercress or parsley. Leave over a low heat while you remove the skin and any bones from the fish then return it to the pan and warm through. Check seasoning adding salt (it should only need a little, if any) and pepper to taste. Serve in warm bowls with a little shaved or coarsely grated parmesan if you have some and fancy it.


Anonymous said...

Sounds good to me! Did the soy milk give it a different flavour? I'm not sure I've tried it.

Fiona Beckett said...

I thought it might but once it had taken on the flavours of the smoked fish and leeks it didn't taste soy-y at all. That said, whole milk would be nicer, I think.

Anonymous said...

This looks rather nice though here in France I haven't come across smoked cod. I shall search next time I visit home!

Fiona Beckett said...

No, there doesn't seem to be any smoked fish in France - other than smoked salmon. If I was making a fish soup or stew there I'd take it in a very different direction

Anonymous said...

I absolutely love fish because it is so light on the digestion and also I do not feel as if I am eating a fellow-mammal! Thanks for reminding me of this soup - sounds really soothing and can't wait to try it. The fishmonger at Bristol's Corn St Farmers' Market sells line-caught cod, too.

Thanks for your comment on enzymes to help digest milk. Apparently raw milk is also acceptable - we are having a mini-discussion about this on my latest blog, so do add your expertise...

Fiona Beckett said...

Think it depends a bit on your individual metabolism realfoodlover but have posted a few thoughts.

Anonymous said...

I like fish but my husband doesn't, so we rarely have it. (I often order it in restaurants though.)

Fiona Beckett said...

Agree, Canadian. Restaurants are a good place to eat fish. I often order it too.

Mike said...

This looks great, gonna have to give this a go sometime!