Monday, December 14, 2009

I Plot: To Cook Food: Smoked Haddock Chowder

Over the Xmas period I will be teaming up with some friends to make a celebratory meal. These parameters:

- The meal will be for 10
- I'll be doing one, or maybe two courses
- I'll be in someone elses kitchen, in another town, during a time of year when shop opening hours (also travel times) are a bit chaotic

lead me to emphasising the KISS[1] principle; simple, foolproof recipes with common ingredients, that don't take up too much time or room in the kitchen. On the other hand:

- It is a celebratory meal
- Including several guests with particular dietry preferences
- And I'm me

Which makes me want to do something extravagant. Somewhere in the tension of these differing requirements is a perfect menu. Until I come up with it I'm thinking of Smoked Haddock Chowder:

I made up this chowder from vague memories of TV programs and recipe books.

Two onions, sliced
A couple of garlic cloves, sliced
Vegetable oil
Three large potatoes, peeled and roughly cut up
Some fish stock, or vegetable stock, or chicken stock, or maybe you could just throw in a stock cube and some water (SHOCK HORROR!)
Lots of sweetcorn, either fresh or out the tin
Quite a large piece of smoked haddock, skinned and flaked roughly
Some cream or full fat milk
Lots of pepper, and maybe some suitable herbs if any strike your fancy

Heat the veg oil in a big pot. Soften onions and garlic, then add potatoes and any herbs, stir, then cover with stock. Simmer for twenty minutes or half an hour. Add in the fish and sweetcorn, then finish off with milk or cream and pepper, and salt if needed. Actually is better if you let it stand for a few hours then heat up.

One final note: I do not have control of the guest list. Sorry.

[1] Keep It Simple, Stupid[2]
[2] Unless you're Stan, of course[3]
[3] In which case you use the STAN principle: Simple Techniques Are Nifty
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