Power Chowder!

I have an enormous chunk of smoked haddock in the freezer and I want to make some kind of comfort food this evening as I’m feeling a little low with the onslaught of winter. In the last two days, every leaf in Falkner Square has landed from the trees and every walk home is now knee deep in orange and red leaves. I must admit to having had a jump in a pile or two! With the deluge of leaves though has come the coldest wind and the most horrible sideways rain and somehow I managed to leave the house this morning without a coat, which has to be one of the most stupid things I have done!

So bearing all of this in mind, I need something to eat that will nourish my cold little toes and hug my insides whilst I curl up on the sofa. Not only that but it’s gearing up to be one of those episodes of Eastenders that require brain food and fish is the ultimate brain food!

The haddock or offshore hake is a marine fish distributed on both sides of the North Atlantic. Haddock is a popular food fish, widely fished commercially. The haddock is easily recognized by a black lateral line running along its white side and a distinctive dark blotch above the pectoral fin, often described as a “thumbprint” or even the “Devil’s thumbprint” or “St. Peter’s mark”.

Unlike the related cod, haddock does not salt well and is often preserved by drying and smoking.The smoking of haddock is something that was highly refined in Grimsby, of all bloody places!

The town of Arbroath on the east coast of Scotland produces the Arbroath Smokie. This is a hot-smoked haddock which requires no further cooking before eating. Smoked haddock naturally has an off-white color; it is very often dyed yellow, as are other smoked fish. Smoked haddock is the essential ingredient in kedgeree, which is one of my absolute favourite meals. It is also super good for you; an excellent source of dietary protein. It also contains a good deal of vitamin B12, pyridoxine, and selenium, and a healthy balance of sodium and potassium, with very little fat.

So in the mood for something creamy and heart warming, I have included a recipe for Smoked Haddock and Sweetcorn Chowder. A hug in a bowl.

Smoked Haddock and Sweetcorn Chowder

serves 4

  • Small knob of butter
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 1 celery stick, finely chopped
  • 1 leek, washed and finely chopped
  • 3 medium potatoes, diced
  • 600ml milk
  • 200ml chicken or fish stock
  • 500g skinless smoked haddock, cut into 4cm pieces
  • 326g can sweetcorn, drained
  • Fresh flatleaf parsley, finely chopped

1. Melt the butter in a large saucepan over a gentle heat. Add the chopped onion, celery and leek and cook for 8-10 minutes, until softened.

2. Stir in the potatoes and toss with the vegetables. Pour over 400ml of the milk and top up with the stock. Bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer for 15 minutes, until the potatoes are tender.

3. Meanwhile, put the fish and remaining milk in a separate pan and bring to the boil. Drain the liquor into the chowder. Set aside the fish.

4. Stir the sweetcorn into the chowder and heat for 1 minute. Remove from the heat and ladle half of the mixture into a food processor and whizz until smooth. Return to the pan and put over a gentle heat. Flake in the fish.

5. Gently heat the chowder until hot and ladle into bowls. Garnish with parsley and serve immediately with a great big hunk of bread.


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