I always have a number of recipes on the go at any one time. They’re organised in a folder (white, Paperchase – it’s important to love your stationery) and divided into sections (I’m a bit anal like that) –
- ready to post
- ready to photograph
- needs more work
- recipes to try
It’s a simple system, but it works. When I was doing some planning the other day, flicking through my precious paperwork, I smiled at the note I had written at the top of the recipe for this Smoked Haddock and Sweetcorn Chowder –
Yep – when your 9 year old daughter loves it + your two teenage sons + your Mum and Dad + your Aunty (and her sister) + your grown up cousin, then it feels like a sign. A good sign.
I first made this chowder for a family lunch (see above for the list of attendees) at Mum and Dad’s house over the summer. It was a simple lunch – more about getting everyone round the table than about the food – but still, there were stomachs to fill.
Being a fan of chunky soups, a chowder is right up my street and not deterred by the fact that it was August (it was a chilly summer up north after all ), this felt like the perfect homely dish around which to hang the rest of this summer lunch. And to add to the spread, there were also leftovers from the night before (and you know what a fan of leftovers I am) – a couple of interesting salads and the last bit of a particularly yummy terrine that my sister’s partner had created. And just in case there wasn’t quite enough food, I put together a mountain of soft white rolls, stuffed with salmon and some fancy leaves. Nobody would go hungry, that’s for sure.
But let’s get back to that chowder …
It was a major hit around our kitchen table and here’s why I’m sure you will feel the same way –
- This is delicious, comfort food at its best. That velvety base; the smokiness of the haddock, the creaminess of the potatoes and then those beautiful yellow specks of sweetcorn. Are you sold already?
- It’s also great value as it makes a small piece of fish go a long way.
- It’s a healthy soup too. There’s a bit of cream that goes in at the end, but to be honest, I sometimes miss it out if I haven’t got any to hand – these photos were without cream. The main ‘creaminess’ of the dish comes from pureeing some of the cooked potatoes and onions with the fish stock. Magic.
- It’s a perfect dish to prepare beforehand. I made the base the day before (up to the end of stage 4) and then warmed it just before we were ready to eat. I added the fish at this stage too so that it didn’t disintegrate after the reheat.
- I can vouch for the fact that it was loved by young and old – 3 generations in fact.
- Oh and of course, it’s easy to make. Kind of goes without saying.
And we polished off a whole cauldron of this Smoked Haddock and Sweetcorn Chowder. Plus the leftovers from the night before. Plus the mountain of sandwiches … and still managed to demolish two packets of chocolate biscuits and several cups of tea. Chatting is clearly hungry work …
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- a drizzle of olive oil
- 500g (1lb) new potatoes, chopped into bite sized pieces
- 750ml (1¼ pints) fish stock
- 200g (7oz) smoked haddock, skinned and cubed in very small pieces (I used fish from the freezer section)
- 1 x 285g (10oz) tin sweetcorn, drained
- 75ml (3 floz) single cream (optional)
- salt and pepper, to taste
- a little chopped parsley
- In your heaviest pan, heat up the oil and add the onion and half of the chopped potatoes. Keep the heat low, cover the pan and cook for 5 minutes.
- Add the stock, bring to the boil and then simmer gently, covered for around 15 minutes or until the potatoes are fully cooked.
- Using a stick blender, puree the mixture of onions, potatoes and stock until smooth.
- Now add the remaining potatoes and the sweetcorn and simmer very gently for 15-20 minutes or until the potatoes are cooked. This is the stage where the chowder may catch on the bottom of the pan, so stir as regularly as you can.
- Add the fish and cream and let the fish cook in the heat of the soup for a few minutes.
- Check the seasoning, stir in the parsley and serve.