Thursday, March 29, 2012

Sweet Potato and Fish Chowder

I was looking for a light, easy  but delicious soup recipe for FF's birthday lunch celebration. Yes,  FF had another year to be grateful about and he will  be celebrating , so little wifey took a day off from work to play cook and  waitress. No complains here, I love stepping into those shoes since we hardly have any celebrations at home. It would be a three course meal and birthday boy wants to have a soup for starters, so soup it is. A week before the celebration, I made some experiments and naturally, he became the instant Guinea pig taster. First, I made carrots and apple curry soup ( remembering how wonderful the subtle curry soup we had at Medici) but my own version failed to impress us both. The soup was ok but end up too bland, too simplistic and too so-so. A short trip to the grocery shop  and I made another choice. The sweet potato on the vegetable and fruit section looked all mighty, chunky , titillating and almost begging to be bought. I gave in, and gave it a try. It was just one of those , throw a bit of this and that to the pot that somehow yield a jackpot. The soup was delicious, so I was told. Here's how I did it. This recipe served 10 happy campers at FF's simple lunch celebration the following week.

Camote Soup ala Emily

Into the big heavy pot goes  3 tablespoons of butter and 200 g of smoked bacon ,finely chopped. Heat gently, stirring frequently until fat runs, meat starts to brown and a wisp of smokey goodness that spells blood clot undulates the air. Ignore that, it's worth it. Add in 1 big, finely chopped onion,  cook over a low heat until translucent but not brown.

Turn heat to medium high. Add in 5 medium size peeled and chopped carrots, stir well and let it slather in those delicious but not-so healthy butter-bacon fat amalgam. Beta carotin made better? Also peel and chop sweet potatoes and add into the pot. I used 1 ginormous sweet potato weighing close to 600 g, stir well and cover pot for 5 minutes.

Pour 1 Liter of fish stock to the pan and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for about 20 minutes or until sweet potatoes and carrots are tender. Take the pot out from the heat and leave to cool for few minutes.

Process soup using a hand held mixer or food processor until smooth. It will get thick, almost heavy . Loosen it all up by adding another liter of fish stock, bring to a boil, uncovered.

Gently stir in 500 g of cubed white fish fillets ( like haddock, cod , ocean perch or what ever is available to you) and a handful of finely chopped parsley. Simmer for 4 to 5 minutes until fish is just cooked. Season with salt and white pepper. If you want to have a smooth, velvety soup, you could puree the soup again once the fish is cooked. FF, however wants to have a chunkier version so I just skipped that.

Reduce the heat to low and add in 400 ml of cream, gently heat through without boiling,  stirring occasionally. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. Serve hot and garnished with chopped fresh parsley.

Enjoy it as we all did !

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