Cod Chowder

This hearty winter soup is a great meal on cold winter nights




What do you do with those frozen "Aljašská treska" (Alaskan cod) filets that sit in the freezer at your local grocery store? Cod chowder!
Prague's better grocery stores like Delvita sell the cryovacced (meaning vaccum sealed and not freezer-burned) variety which works well for this recipe. You can find all the ingredients for this recipe at most Delvita locations.


Note:


Although America's Food and Drug Administration has issued health advisories for women of child-bearing age and pregnant women regarding the consumption of large oceangoing fish, namely tuna and shark, smaller fish tend to have less concentrated amounts of the dangerous heavy metals (PCBs) which concentrate in the larger fish's fat deposits. They still recommend, however, limiting consumption to 12 ounces of fish a week at the most.












Ingredients

8 thick-cut slices bacon (Anglická Slanina) (about 1/4 pound), cut into 1cm pieces

2 cups chopped leeks (Pórek). Only the whites.

1 cup chopped shallots

2 cups chopped carrots

1/2 cup chopped garlic

1 cup diced celery root

3 cups white wine

2 cups corn niblets

2 medium sized finely diced white onions

1/2 liter fish stock (you can cheat and just use the Vitana brand of chicken flavored bullion cubes)

1 pound new potatoes, prefferably red skinned, cut in half. (you can peel them or only peel two and grill or roast the rest for great color and presentation to be added when serving)

1 liter water

2 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme

2 teaspoons fresh rosemary

1 to 1 1/2 teaspoon crumbled saffron threads

1/2 cup whipping cream

6-7 150gr cod fillets









Method
In a deep, thick-bottomed, soup pot saute bacon until browned and almost crispy. Remove from pot, save the grease. In the bacon grease saute the shallots, leeks, carrots, celery root, and two or three potatoes depending on size and garlic until the shallots become clear. Add half of the thyme and continue sauteing for another 3-5 minutes on medium heat. Add fish stock and water. Cook this until carrots are tender but not mushy. About 45 minutes on medium heat. DO NOT BOIL!



Roast the corn niblets in the oven with a little olive oil. When done place on a plate with some paper towels to allow the oil to be absorbed by the paper towels. Do the same with the potatoes, or if you have a grill, mark them on the grill and finish them in the oven. Allow soup to simmer. When carrots are tender remove from heat, add half the roasted corn and puree the broth in a food processor until very smooth. If you have a China-hat or strainer with very small holes, pass the soup through that for extra smoothness. You can also use cheese cloth. In the soup pot saute the diced onion until clear, add cooked bacon and broth. Add saffron and the remaining herbs. Salt and white pepper to taste.



Add the cream by making a liaison (mix a small amount of the hot soup with cold cream, whisking briskly until incorporated and then add liaison to soup. This is so the cream does not curdle). Add roasted or grilled potatoes and corn. Allow to cook for 1 hour on very low heat, again making sure not to boil it. About 1/2 hour to twenty minutes (depending on size of the filets) before service add the whole fish filets and cook until they are tender but not chewy. You will have to watch it as this depends on the thickness of the filets. Check the seasoning and serve immediately.



I like to serve this with a nice green salad and some hearty brown farm bread. To make the soup ahead of time simply don't add the fish until ready for serving.

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