Preparation Time:10 minutes
Cooking Time:10 minutes + leave for 5 minutes to set
Level of Difficulty:Easy
- 200g (7oz) packet lardons
- 1 large knob of butter
- 2 leeks (about 350g/12oz), thinly sliced
- 1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
- Small pinch of crushed dried chillies
- 2 bay leaves
- 650g/1lb7oz potatoes, Desiree are good, peeled and sliced thickly (about 5mm/1 inch) thick (Angela recommends a floury/waxy variety of potato that would release starch to thicken the chowder, but would also hold its shape)
- 700ml/11 pints fish or chicken stock (from a good-quality cube or powder is fine)
- 450g/1lb skinless haddock (the fish should be a firm and lean variety)
- 150ml (5fl.oz) carton single cream
- Roughly chopped fresh parsley for scattering
- 1. Heat a wide deep sauté pan. Tip in the lardons and fry until they have released their fat and have started to crisp. Remove them with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper, putting to one side for later.
- Drop the knob of butter into the pan and, as it sizzles, add the leeks, thyme, chillies and bay leaves and stir-fry for 2-3 minutes until starting to soften, but still bright green.
- 2. Tip in the potatoes, fry for a couple of minutes, stirring occasionally, then pour in the stock (it should just cover them). Boil over a high heat for 10 minutes, uncovered, until they are almost cooked through.
- (No need to stir as the potatoes may break up). As they boil, their starch will be released and start to thicken the liquid.)
- 3. Lay the whole fillets of fish on top of the potatoes so they are immersed as much as possible in the stock. Cover and simmer for 4 minutes. Remove from the heat, and let sit, still covered, for 5 minutes so the fish can finish cooking gently. Pour in the cream and shake the pan (rather than stir) so it mixes in, as you don’t want to break up the potatoes and fish. Season with pepper – you may not need salt, depending on the stock you have used. The chowder can now rest for an hour or overnight in the fridge, which gives the flavours a chance to develop more. This is called ‘curing’.
- 4. To serve, scatter the lardons over. Warm the chowder gently, being careful not to let it boil. Lift the fish and potatoes out with a slotted spoon, letting the fish break into very big chunks as you do so. Pile them both in the centre of wide shallow bowls or plates. Spoon the liquid around and scatter with the chopped parsley.