I love smoked food – be it cheese, bacon, fish or anything else. There’s something about the flavour which makes you feel as though you’re being given a big hug.
I’ve made a summer version of a chowder before (here). This particular dish is very different – it is a winter classic and there are variations of it all over the world. I suppose it used to be made as a cheap dish to stretch the smoked fish throughout the long, cold winter by bulking it out with potatoes. With the addition of a few exta ingredients – spinach and the classic sweetcorn – it is transformed into a delicious, warming dish to look forward to.
I remember eating a Scottish version of the dish once in Edinburgh (if anyone remembers the name of the Scottish version, please remind me!) – it was very similar to this one but with no sweetcorn, and was the perfect tonic to warm me up on the bitterly cold day. I think I enjoyed it with a moreish mulled cider that day, but no such luck today!
This has the benefit of being dead easy to make, and is ready in half an hour. This recipe will serve 4.
Smoked Fish Chowder
1 tbsp olive oil
4 rashers smoked bacon
1 baking potato
1 litre fish stock
250g skinless, boneless smoked haddock
325g tin of sweetcorn
1. Chop the onion and add to a large saucepan with the olive oil. Cook over a medium heat for 2 minutes, then add the chopped bacon. Cook until the bacon is starting to brown.
2. Peel the potato and chop into 1 inch chunks. Add to the saucepan along with the stock and milk. Simmer with a lid on for about 10 minutes, until the potatoes are soft (make sure it doesn’t boil).
3. Chop the fish into chunks the same size as the potato chunks. Add the fish and the sweetcorn to the saucepan and simmer for a further 5-10 minutes, until the fish has turned opaque.
4. Add the spinach and cook until it is wilted. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Serve with some nice, warm bread on the side.