Monday, July 14, 2008

Cooking Idea - Fish Chowder

After the Cooking
After the Cooking
Originally uploaded by toastfloats.
The kids like to fish. Jaime in particular is into that whole “fishing thing” and routinely throws out a line and hook whenever we sit still long enough for her to do so. The problem with your children fishing is that they frequently catch stuff. The bigger problem is that they expect you -- the wonderful, loving, appreciative mother -- to then prepare and serve it. This is, after all, the point of the exercise.

However, anyone who has ever consumed a Pacific Northwest “mud fish” knows that the reason they are so named is that they taste precisely like the gunk from which they are pulled. Gunk is fantastic for anchors. You can drop a hook into the water and your boat will not drag in a 6 knot current or a 25 knot blow. However, once you pull a fish out of it, it is quite clear where it came from.

Inspired to find a way to consume these things without actually tasting them, I stumbled on the following recipe. You can use with any white fish from any source. It also works with shell fish, but if you’ve got shell fish you can probably do something better with it.

Fish Chowder
This hearty, white chowder feeds five plus a dish for leftovers. It's more like a stew than a soup. I suppose you could make it soupier by adding more milk and flour. It works in our pressure cooker doubled if for some reason you need to feed a horde -- or someone has caught a LOT of fish.

Dr C wants us to try it with olive oil instead of butter... maybe. I think I'd like it with bacon fat instead of butter. I'm evil that way. Every chowder recipe I've ever seen calls for bay leaves, but I don't have any. They wanted to charge me $15 for a jar of them in Friday Harbor... to which I told them what they could do with themselves.

1# white fish - any
1/3 cp flour
1 cube butter
1 onion diced
2 tsp chopped garlic (e.g. 2 or 3 cloves or a big heaping spoonful of the pre-chopped)
1 cp chopped celery
3 carrots shredded
1/2 cp chopped parsley (or dried equivalent)
3 tbs chopped fresh dill (or dried equivalent)
1 lg potato diced
1/2 bottle beer (I recommend an IPA or heffewiesen rather than anything dark or red)
2 chicken cubes
2 cps milk
Pepper to taste

Drag the fish in flour and brown in the bottom of your pressure cooker with a chunk of the butter. Remove and reserve fish. Brown onions and garlic in same pan with another chunk of butter. Throw in everything else, including any leftover flour and the rest of the butter, and give it a few turns of the spoon. Bring to a good hearty simmer then cap the cooker. Cook under pressure about 10 minutes (depends on your cooker but what you're after is cooked potatoes and celery). Serve with biscuits.


Shangrilewis said...

We always replace milk in chowders or potato soup with full-fat coconut milk. OH MY YUM, YUM, YUM!

Anonymous said...

Actually, this sounds quite good. Not sure what the mudfish is (generic term?) Can you post a picture of one next time she catches one?
If you are running low on Bay leaves, email us a place to send some to you - we'll be happy to send you a couple of pounds. Quite abundant here and we use them all the time.

Anonymous said...

Mmmmm. Bacon fat.

Anonymous said...

Seriously, though? Instead of the fresh dill, look for a can of Old Bay... It's hard to beat as a basic, all-purpose fish stew seasoning.

Anonymous said...

Can't help connecting your note with the story yesterday about the 5 human feet that have been found in local waters during the last year -- perhaps I'm reading too much Stephen King. So take a good look at that fish, particularly if it has a Nike swoosh on it. Ug!

Toast said...

Suggestions for variations outstanding. I'll need to post more cooking ideas if this is the kind of input I get. Woot! Info on the feet SO not what I wanted to google. Ugh. That's just... macabre.