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Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Fish Chowder with Pollock

Pollock is one of my favorite varieties of fish to cook with. It's a meaty, solid fish with a mild sweet flavor and works great for poaching, or in this case, in a delicious hearty chowder. Pollock does have a more "fishy" taste than some other varieties of fish found at your local market, which makes this chowder even more enjoyable.  I love being able to taste the fish.  In the last few years tilapia has become quite popular, but for some reason I've just never been able to find a way to make the flavor come alive. The tilapia is just, blah.  The Pollock just gives chowder an old world flavor.

For this chowder you could substitute cod or even haddock, but if you can find Pollock, save yourself some money and go with the Pollock.  It tastes better than either of the pricier fish.

2 lbs Fresh Pollock
1/4 cup  Unsalted Butter
1 TB  Minced Garlic
1  Small Onion, sliced
1 Celery Stalk, washed and diced
1 Leek, whites only, thinly sliced
2  Bay Leaves
1/2  Medium Green Pepper, seeded and diced
1/3 cup  Flour
1 1/2 cups  Water
1  8 oz  Bottle Clam Juice
6  Medium Red Potatoes, cut into bite-sized pieces
1/2 tsp  Dried Dill
1 cup  Milk
1 cup  Half & Half
1 tsp  Salt
1/2 tsp  Ground Black Pepper
1/2 lb  Bacon,  cooked and crumbled for garnish

In a large soup pot, melt butter over medium heat, then add the garlic, onion, celery, leek, bay leaves and green pepper.  Saute vegetables for 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until softened.  Reduce heat to low, sprinkle the flour over vegetables and stir to evenly coat.  Gently stir in the water and clam juice, adding a little at a time, until combined with the flour and vegetables.  This will make a thin gravy around the vegetables.

Add potatoes and dill and simmer over medium heat for about 10 minutes or until the  potatoes are just barely tender. Add milk, half & half, salt and pepper and bring to a low boil.

Gently add the pieces of fish to the pot, pushing the fish down into the soup.  Cook 5-7 minutes or until the Pollock flakes when tested with a fork.

Remove bay leaves, ladle chowder into soup bowls and sprinkle with the crumbled bacon.  Enjoy!!

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