Sunday, March 13, 2011

A Chilly Lenten Chowder

Well, it's official, we have sprung forward, and the first day of spring is a mere week away. I love spring time, as all the flowers bloom, the weather stabilizes and the number of picnics, pool days and any other excuse to get outside increases dramatically.

I have truly enjoyed the winter season though; I love dressing in layers, snuggling under blankets and making warm, comforting meals. In Florida we have blazing hot summer weather for 3/4 of the year, so I try to savor every goosebump and chilly breeze!

Needless to say, I wasn't terribly upset when another cold front rolled in at the end of the week, after all our crazy bipolar weather as of late. The last chill down of the season came at the perfect time, the first Friday of Lent, which means along with all the other Catholics of the world, I am abstaining from meat on Fridays for the next 40 days, until Easter arrives. And honestly, if yet another cold snap gave you the excuse to make a hearty, flavorful fish chowder you would welcome the 30 degree plunge in temperatures too!

If you are ready for a season bridging, meat free, soup as well, try this take on Leah of Your Nutrionista's Arctic Char Chowder.  It is chock full of veggies, plus protein and healthy fats, the latter two Leah has been helping me incorporate into my meals more often.

My chowder included the following:
a chopped mirepoix (carrots, onions and celery), about 2 cups total
quartered Yukon gold potatoes, 4-5 small potatoes
1 quart chicken stock 
1 can fire roasted tomatoes
1 large bunch red kale, rough chopped
1 lb salmon, cubed
1/2 cup heavy cream
spices: sea salt, black pepper, red pepper flakes, dried marjoram, chopped fresh sage, chopped fresh basil

Put it all together now:
Saute the mirepoix and quartered potatoes in butter until the onions turn translucent and the potatoes begin to brown (about 10 minutes over medium heat). Then add the stock and tomatoes.

Bring the mixture up to a rolling simmer for about 10 minutes, to soften the root vegetables. While everything is simmering, add the spices. 

Lastly, add the kale, salmon and cream.

Bring the fully assembled chowder back up to a gentle simmer for another 10ish minutes, to fully cook the fish, without it getting tough. 

This rich broth was surprisingly light, but extremely satisfying.

I had my parents down for dinner, to prevent them from eating fish stick sandwiches for a second time in one week and my Dad went a little crazy over how good this soup was. First he nearly tipped over the table to kiss my cheek after the first bite, and then got a little misty eyed, as he kept commenting "this could be served in the islands at the resort" (He and Mum go to an all-inclusive resort every summer, which is where most of their "gourmet" dining occurs). Thanks, Daddy!

So, whether you are looking for a rich soup, a meat free meal or the chance to make your father cry, this chowder is the way to go!

Love to all,
~the "I'm making the most of the chilly weather for as long as I can" gal, Jess


Post a Comment

I love hearing from you!