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Monday, October 3, 2011

Swai and Sweet Potato Chowder

On to day 3 of Soup Month!  I must say, this is an amazing bowl of soup!  I am always looking for new ways to cook Swai, and this was a great meal.  Since most people don't keep a supply of Saffron on hand, the price for this delicate spice will be a bit of a shocker. I paid just over $6 for a 1/2 gram, in a vial no bigger than a quarter!  I know it sounds expensive, but here are a few details to explain the high cost.

Saffron are the stigmas of the crocus sativus flower, which grows in Western Asia. Since each flower only has 3 stigmas, and these are all "hand-harvested", you need a lot of time to collect 13,000+ stigmas which equals just 1 ounce. A very labor-intensive spice!

Since Saffron can be used to add flavor and beautiful color to many soups, plus seafood paella, rice or risotto, it is a delicious spice to experiment with and try in various foods. You can crush the threads when using them, but in this dish, simply add the whole threads and the flavor and color will distribute into the soup more evenly.

The sweet potatoes and Andouille were a surprisingly good match for the Swai, and the crispy fried sweet potatoes on top finished the soup off nicely.

1 TB  Olive Oil
2 pieces  Andouille Sausages (6-8 oz total)
1 small  Onion, chopped
1/4 tsp  Saffron Threads (6-8 threads are plenty)
3 cups  Low Sodium Chicken Broth
2 small  Sweet Potatoes, peeled and cubed
1/4 cup  Whipping Cream (or Half and Half)
Salt and Pepper to taste
2 pounds  Swai Fillets, rinsed, patted dry and cut into 1-inch squares
1/2 cup  Low Sodium Chicken Broth
2 TB  Cornstarch
1 small  Sweet Potato, julienned or cut into thin matchsticks
2 tsp  Olive Oil

In a large soup pot, heat 1 TB olive oil.  Add sausage slices and cook until lightly browned.  Add onion and cook until softened, about 3 minutes.

Add chicken broth, sweet potatoes and saffron threads.  Bring soup to a boil, reduce heat and simmer about 5 minutes or until potatoes are almost tender.  Blend in whipping cream and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Add pieces of fish to the top of the soup, pushing the fish into the soup slightly.  (The heat of the soup will gently poach the fish, allowing it to absorb all of the flavors.)  Cover the pot and cook until the fish is opaque and cooked thru, about 10 minutes.  (Choose the largest piece of fish to test for doneness, if needed.)

Sweet Potato Slivers:   Saute the julienned potatoes in a small skillet over medium-high heat with 2 tsp olive oil. Stir the potatoes and fry until crispy; keep warm.

Gently stir soup.  Mix 1/4 cup broth with 2 TB cornstarch in a small bowl.  Slowly add the mixture to the soup, a little at a time while stirring the soup, until the desired consistency is reached.  Ladle soup into bowls and top with toasted sweet potato slivers.  Enjoy!!

1 comment:

  1. Lol the whole time I was reading your post I kept on trying to figure out what swai was and what that had to do with saffron.

    Finally I figured out it was a type of fish! Great idea to use a saffron broth in a fish based soup.


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