Sunday, September 17, 2017

Fish and Corn Chowder

Bowl of Fish and Corn Chowder with spoon and napkin
Recipe adapted from Everyday DASH Diet


Why would anyone take a healthy recipe from a healthy cookbook and add potatoes, extra flour, extra bacon, and half and half? But then again, whoever heard of fish chowder without potatoes or cream? And so it is that I padded the light recipe with these traditional flavors. There’s just a small amount of half and half, which kicks up flavor and texture. Potatoes, not considered the healthiest veggies, contain potassium and other minerals, and their high glycemic index is mitigated when eaten with lean protein, like fish and lowfat milk. And as for the bacon, I’m going to call it a moderate amount since there is less than one strip per serving. And it adds indispensible traditional flavor.

Two Halibut Fillets and 4 cups of fresh corn
Fish or Corn Chowder, Why Choose?
I used halibut in my recipe, because my work colleague brought me some that her children had caught and flash-frozen on a trip to Alaska. It worked superbly. Any thick-ish and firm white fish can be used. Cod, tilapia, snapper, haddock, bream, and bass are good options. Take care not to overcook the potatoes, to keep them delicious not-mushy chunks. The corn and fish are very lightly cooked after the potatoes are tender. This chowder can be reheated by the bowlful in the microwave. Microwave for about a minute, let it rest 30 seconds, stir, and microwave another 30 seconds to a minute and stir again. It is best to let it rest another minute before serving so that the heat concentrated in the potatoes by microwaving can spread to the soup.

Even though September temperatures are higher than moderate on many Santa Cruz days, this chowder makes a hearty after-dark supper when temps go down, or when the fog rolls in. Enjoy it with a crusty sourdough, or homemade herb biscuits.

Closeup of Bowl of Chowder
Chowder Chow-down
Fish and Corn Chowder
serves ~8

6 thick bacon strips, a scant ¼ lb.
1 small yellow onion, chopped (1 cup)
2 celery ribs, in 3/8” dice (1 cup)
½ large red bell pepper, in 3/8” dice (1 cup)
1 1b. red potatoes (3 medium), ¾” dice
1/3 cup all purpose flour
5½ cups rich, low salt chicken broth
½ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. fresh ground black pepper
½ tsp. dried thyme
1 bay leaf
4 cups fresh corn (4 ears)
1 lb. skinless halibut fillets, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 cup low fat milk
½ cup half and half (fat free okay)
chopped parsley, for serving
black pepper, for serving

Cut the bacon into 1-inch pieces. In a deep soup pot, sauté bacon over medium heat until it’s cooked and partially brown, about 5 minute. Remove bacon from pot to paper towels to drain. Remove excess bacon fat from pot, leaving 1½ - 2 tbsp. in the pot.

Sauté onion, celery, and red bell pepper in bacon fat till slightly softened, about 4 minutes. Add potatoes and stir, continuing to sauté for another 2 – 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Sprinkle in flour, and stir for another 2 minutes, stirring and blending to coat veggies with flour.

Slowly stir in chicken broth. Stir in salt, pepper, thyme, and bay leaf. Bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer for about 15 minutes, until potatoes are soft but not mushy.

Add corn, halibut, and drained bacon. Bring back to simmer. Cook until fish is opaque, about 5 minutes.

Remove from heat. Stir in low fat milk and half and half. Let sit for about 5 minutes—the heat from the potatoes will warm up the milk.

Serve in bowls garnished with chopped parsley and a grind of black pepper.

Vacuum Packed Halibut, Flash Frozen
Best Quality Fish Makes the Best Chowder

Fish and Corn Added to Chowder
Add Fish and Corn When Potatoes are Tender

Chowder in Pot Nearly Done
Cook Fish and Corn Just a Few Minutes

Closeup of Chowder in Bowl, topped with parsley
Chowder Power: Warm and Filling


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