What a warming, delicious meal for a cold winter’s night! I’m not generally drawn to chowder recipes, but when I came across Mark Bittman’s “No-Holds-Barred Clam or Fish Chowder” recipe in his How to Cook Everything iPad app, I knew I had to make it. The March recipes for French Fridays with Dorie were announced last week. I was so excited to see that this week’s recipe was “Savory Cheese and Chive Bread” because it would be the perfect accompaniment to the chowder.
First the bread… “Savory Cheese and Chive Bread” is an easy-to-make quick bread. Dorie recommends several options for the cheese. I chose cheddar because I thought it would go well with the chowder (I was right!). I skipped the optional walnuts as I didn’t think the flavor would go with the meal as a whole. While the bread is essentially a “quick bread”, the end result is much more sophisticated than most “American” quick breads. The texture is very light and refined, and the crust almost seems flaky and buttery (thanks to all that cheese – there is actually no butter in this recipe). This bread was right at home next to the chowder, and it would also be delicious as part of a brunch. The whole family enjoyed the bread. My husband declared this his favorite FFwD so far (although I think he forgot about the Pancetta Green Beans…). I enjoyed the leftovers toasted for breakfast.
The chowder was also fantastic! What makes it over-the-top delicious is the bacon! I can’t imagine making the low-fat variation and leaving it out. I made a fish chowder with wild Alaskan cod because I might have been the only one to eat it if I had used clams. We all enjoyed it with the cod. I added a few extra potatoes because that is my favorite part of a chowder.
Mark Bittman’s Fish Chowder
- ¼ pound good-quality bacon, chopped
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 2 cups peeled and cubed potatoes (about¾ pound)
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, or ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- 2 cups fish or chicken stock
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- 1 cup milk
- 1 cup cream, half-and-half or more milk (I used part cream and part milk because that is what I had on hand)
- 2 cups diced or chunked delicate white fish, like cod
- Chopped fresh parsley leaves for garnish
Cook the bacon in a large pot over medium-high heat until crisp and remove with a slotted spoon. Lower the heat to medium and cook the onion, potatoes, and thyme in the bacon fat until the onion softens, about 10 minutes. Add the stock and cook until the potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes.
Add some salt and pepper, then add the milk and cream. Add the fish and bring barely to a simmer over low heat. Be careful not to let the soup boil. Simmer for another 5 minutes or so, until the fish is cooked. Stir in the bacon and serve, garnishing with the chopped parsley.