4.15.2017

Just Add Color!

When I was growing up, there was a belief that if your meal was colorful, it was well balanced.

When you think about it, the idea had some merit... imagine sweet potatoes, spinach, tomatoes, and a serving of protein together on a plate. Pretty balanced, right?

Alternatively, you could also serve that same plate heaped with Gummy Bears and meet the color wheel requirements. Yet you would fail miserably on the balanced-diet front.

Which reminds me of a scene in Romy and Michele's High School Reunion.
   Michele: Did you lose weight?
   Romy: Actually, I have been trying this new fat free diet I invented. 
      All I've had to eat for the past six days are gummy bears,
      jelly beans, and candy corns.
   Michele: God, I wish I had your discipline.

Today's chowder is a perfect example of when the concept of colorful food fails... in a good way. It is filled with ingredients that are good for you (ignore the salt pork and butter, okay?) making for a hearty meal with almost no color at all.

“Ayuh,” as we often heard pronounced over steaming bowl of white chowder when we lived in Maine, this is "wicked good."

~ David

Cod Chowder

2 ounces salt pork, diced
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 cups sliced leeks, from 3 large leeks
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 cups fish or seafood stock
½ pound fingerling potatoes, sliced into 1/4-inch rounds
leaves from 6 sprigs thyme
2 cups half-and-half
10 ounces cod, or other white fish, cut into 2-inch chunks

Place a 4-quart stockpot over medium heat at add the salt pork. Cook, stirring occasionally, until it is golden and has rendered its fat. Add the butter and leeks; continue cooking over medium heat until the leaked have softened but are not browned.

Add the wine, stock, potatoes, and thyme, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until potatoes are fork tender. About 12-15 minutes. Add the half-and-half and fish; bring to a boil, then reduce once again to a simmer. Cook until the fish flakes, but is not falling apart - about 5-8 minutes.

Served in heated bowls with bread and a salad.

Serves 4.

Note: While Tucson isn't really close to the ocean, we are lucky to have a source for cod and salmon - White Cane Sockeye Salmon. Randy Houghton and his son, Ian (who happens to hold a PhD in piano performance), can be found at our Tucson Heirloom Farmers Markets selling fish that Randy catches in Alaska, then vacuum packs and freezes for sale at the market. 



35 comments:

  1. I've never had this soup before. Sounds and looks beautiful David! :)

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    1. It is very popular here in the States, Magda - mostly in coastal regions with good fish!

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  2. Sounds delicious, David. Happy Easter to you and Mark xxx

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  3. It looks delicious! Who needs colour?

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    1. I know, right? I had a friend when I was young who only ate white food. I thought it was just kids but apparently there are many adults who suffer (and I mean suffer, Carolyne!) without color!

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  4. How did you know I had a plate heaped with Gummy Bears sitting in front of me right now? GREG

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    1. Call me psychotic, Greg. (Or is that psychic? I am probably both, so....)

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  5. I love that you can quote Romy and Michele!

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    1. I love anybody who loves Romy & Michele, Lois!

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  6. Great looking chowder David , it would be perfect with German Speck. Happy Easter to you and your loved ones.

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    1. Speck is perfect with this, Gerlinde, and I have used it often for chowders!

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  7. I love these one-pot meals.
    I must look up the definition of "chowder": are there limits? for instance, could I add other vegetables, like fennel or seafood, like mussels? ... and still be called a chowder?

    I might be wrong, but I think that chowder have disappeared here in England, as part of their fish repertoire, which is odd, considering their Anglo-French origins

    in Italy, fish soups have lost the vegetables along the way, during centuries...and now they comprise mostly of fish only (actually, now that I think of it, there baccalà (sold cod) and potatoes..., still an unusual fish dish)
    ...happy easter, of course - stefano

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    1. Ciao, Stefano - it still does exist in the British Isles, but usually under another name - such as Cullen Skink in Scotland (I've never made it - the name has always turned me off :) - but it is definitely more popular here. There are all variety of fish and seafood chowders, vegetable chowders, and such. I have never seen a meat or poultry chowder, though, cream of chicken soup is nothing more than a chicken chowder. Fennel shows up a lot in red chowders (tomato based, with no cream) although I think it would be brilliant in a creamy chowder. Fennel makes almost anything better...

      Stoccafisso can be used for soups, right? But they still seem different than this.

      I hope you both had a wonderful Easter - ours was spent at the airport and on planes following a family wedding. Not the optimal Easter, but at least we were together!

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  8. Hi David, this chowder does look wicked good, will be making this once we get settled in Oregon, still have to get there right lol. Anyway Happy Easter!

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    1. You will have some great fish and seafood choices up there, Cheri - when do you leave?? Must be hard, but when you have the beauty of Oregon waiting, it softens the blow...

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  9. This dish looks great, David. My mum used to cook something like it: baccalà (salted, dried cod) con patate. She sometimes addes olives. I have to do it one day or another... Ciao ciao, ANna

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    1. Anna - the baccalà con patate sounds wonderful. It reminds me of a Portuguese dish called baccalà a braz, which has both potatoes and olives. I love that, although it isn't a soup.

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  10. I love cod.
    Shawn doesn't.
    This will change his mind.
    xo

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    1. It may not change his mind, Colette, but it is worth a try!

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  11. I love chowder! It's one of my favourite dishes and yours looks lovely.

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    1. Thanks, Caroline - do you see much chowder in the UK?

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  12. There is a chill in the air here in New England, making a bowl of hot chowder sound so good. I have never made it with wine--it sounds particularly inviting!

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    1. I hope your weather has warmed up now, Susan!

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  13. Oooo, love your timing. I have "use up some shrimp stock" on my to do list (I am running out of clean pyrex) and have been dreading having to find a recipe. Thank you, thank you!

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    1. Absolutely my pleasure, Inger - I hope you enjoy it!

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  14. Hi David, this cod chowder looks/sounds wonderful! So flavourful and comforting, and I personally like the colours in it - very elegant. Cynthia loves fish so looking forward to making this for both of us. Thanks for introducing me to half and half. Not sure if I can find it in Oz though.

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    1. Thanks, Ngeun - half and half is a a 50/50 combination of whole milk and whole cream - very easy to concoct yourself at home! I hope you and Cynthia enjoy it. Have a great day!

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  15. I ate my share of chowders while Dean and I travelled through New England several years ago, but none of them looked as good and plentiful as yours, David!

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    1. I would be curious to know, John if the chowders you found in New England were thick and stodgy. They have become that way for the tourist trade - thickened with flour - and it would infuriate my mother.

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  16. David, with those ingredients, I'll happily forego color. Carefully sourced fish, along with some of my all-time favorite ingredients, in a one-dish meal. Perfect.

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    1. I am so grateful we can get good Alaskan fish here in Tucson! And you are right - who needs color!?

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  17. I had a few pieces of cod left from my CSA and just made this, David. Absolutely loved it. Pure flavors that came together perfectly (even after cheating some to use what I had on hand). BTW, I did manage some color with "rainbow" fingerlings that included purple :)

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    1. What a great idea to add the color with potatoes! So glad you liked it, Inger!

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