Monday, January 10, 2011

Fish chowder

Ocean dreams have started to creep into my sleep. Not because of the cold weather. Next month we'll gather family and mom's friends so we can spread her ashes in Puerto Vallarta. We spent so much time in Mexico with my folks and I know this trip won't be like any of the other trips. As we make our plans, I look through more pictures, notes and the recipes she used to make when we visited.

There are so many seafood dishes in mom's cards and I'm pushing myself to be more adventuresome with ingredients. Mom really enjoyed living near the ocean and having fresh fish and shellfish available all the time. Since I've lived all my life in the Midwest, I've been more of a poultry-and-produce sort of cook. What happens lately when I head to the kitchen is a blending of my cooking instincts with mom whispering in my ear to try something new.

Inspired by mom's scampi recipe, I created a fish chowder over the weekend that earned me a favorite comment from my husband. When he says I've made something that's better than what he could order in a restaurant, I think he's crazy but it makes me smile anyway. Especially since I was trying to use up a handful of things that couldn't feed all three of us in one sitting. It's the kind of kitchen magic I saw mom do many times but didn't know I could make it happen too.

Fish chowder, approx. 4-5 servings

4 Tblsp. butter
1/2 medium onion, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
6 new potatoes, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tblsp. flour
2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
2 cups dry white wine
1 tsp. dried tarragon
2 tilapia fillets
2 Tblsp. heavy cream
1. Melt butter in large saucepan or Dutch oven. Saute onion, carrots, celery and potatoes over high heat until the potatoes are fork-tender.
2. Reduce heat to medium-high, add garlic and saute a few more minutes. Sprinkle flour over veggies, stirring to coat and cook for 2-3 minutes.

3. Add the stock, white wine and tarragon. Bring to a boil and cook for about 10 minutes.

4. Slip in the fish fillets and reduce the heat to let it simmer just until the fish is cooked. Stir gently to break up the fillets into bite-size pieces. Stir in the heavy cream just to thicken a bit. Step-by-step photos are in this video:



Carolyn said...

All of this, your whole blog, is such a lovely tribute to your mother.

Chef Dennis said...

your chowder sounds delicious, and what better way to stretch a meal! You did your mom proud with this dish, and I can understand why your husband thinks you hit the mark with this chowder, it is definitely better than most restaurant soups!

The Mom Chef said...

Oh my, this looks fantastic. I love fish chowder. And I like the fact that this is made with tilapia, which is well within my budget. Thanks so much for sharing these beloved recipes.

Angela Pritchett said...

Thank you all for following!

Carolyn, you are so kind.

Dennis, thanks for checking out my chowder. I'm so pleased you think I hit the mark.

Mom Chef, I love a good budget recipe and not wasting food.

cake said...

That picture of your chowder with seashells is awesome!
Btw, i was looking through your other recipes and you have a lovely collection. Your mom must be very proud of you :)

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