Tag Archives: roux

Creamy Fish Chowder with Corn and Potatoes

25 Sep
Creamy Fish Chowder with Corn and Potatoes

Creamy Fish Chowder with Corn and Potatoes

My husband made this delightful (and decadent) creamy fish chowder over the weekend from some of the sea bass we caught off the central coast of Oregon a few weeks ago. He accomplished this after helping me can all those tomatoes I wrote about last post. Super Dad!  I played a minor role in the making of this, helping with a few measurements and prepping the potatoes, but I mainly taste-tested it along the way and of course ate a heaping bowl of it for dinner. Now we have several bags of it frozen for future quick and easy meals.

p.s. The tripod holder insert-thingy on the bottom of my camera broke just as I was setting up to take photos. Because I did not have my thinking cap on, I ended up using a flash for some of the shots, instead of rubberbanding it to the tripod or some other method of securing it (DOH!). Time for a new camera? Yes, I think so.

Fish Chowder Ingredients

Fish Chowder Ingredients

Creamy Fish Chowder with Corn and Potatoes

4 sea bass filets, or other white fish (about 1 pound)
Milk for soaking the fish
6 strips of bacon (optional)
1/3 cup real butter
1 cup onion, diced
1/3 cup flour
8 cups lowfat milk
4 medium potatoes, peeled and 1/2-inch diced
1 cup sweet white corn (fresh or frozen)
Pinch of cayenne pepper
Paprika, to taste
Mrs. Dash Table Blend, to taste
Black pepper, to taste

Soak the fish in a bowl of milk mixed half and half with water for at least an hour, or longer in the refrigerator. Meanwhile, cook up a mess of bacon. My husband cooked an entire pound and the leftovers were used for garnish and a BLT for his lunch the next day.  He said he was tempted to use some of the bacon drippings to prepare the roux, but decided his heart would thank him for not doing that. Besides, adding the bacon to the soup gave it plenty of flavor.

Big Pot of Fish Chowder

Big Pot of Fish Chowder

In a large soup pot, melt the butter and cook the onions until just starting to soften. Add the flour, whisking until a paste forms. Very slowly add about half the milk, whisking constantly. Bring up to a simmer until it starts to thicken, then add the rest of the milk, the potatoes, corn, and seasonings. Also add the bacon, which should be chopped at this point.

Bring the soup back up to a low simmer. You need to monitor the heat and stir often, as the milk could scald and stick to the bottom of the pot if you’re not careful.  After about 15 minutes of simmering, cut the fish into bite size pieces and add to the pot, once again bringing up to a simmer until the potatoes and fish are done. Ladle into bowls and garnish with additional chopped bacon. I cheated and ate my garnish first instead.

Creamy Fish Chowder with Corn and Potatoes

Creamy Fish Chowder with Corn and Potatoes

Creamy Poblano Tortilla Soup with Chicken and Hominy

23 Jan
Creamy Poblano Tortilla Soup with Chicken and Hominy

Creamy Poblano Tortilla Soup with Chicken and Hominy

Well I preempted a post about my husband’s amazing spicy beans and rice dish for this crazy good soup I made. As you may already know, I’m on a soup kick lately, which I do in spurts. This soup has such amazing textures and flavors that I felt compelled to share it next instead. Somehow I ended up finding a creamy Poblano soup recipe while surfing the net well over a week ago for who knows what, I don’t even remember now. So on my next grocery trip, I bought a Poblano (also known as a Pasilla) pepper for it, then threw in a Serrano pepper into the bag for good measure that day. Then the week dragged on, we ate a variety of meals, then I discovered the peppers hidden under the lettuce in the veggie drawer almost a week later. GASP! I was so worried they were expired. But the foodie spirits were with me and they were still nice and crisp and fresh and ready to use. I had to go back in my browser history to find the dang recipe, as all the keywords I used in my search to find it again didn’t bring it up. Whew, I found it! The recipe came from a defunct restaurant on a website that hasn’t been updated in several years, but I ended up finding several variations of the recipe on other sites. So now I present you my take on this.

What makes this soup so interesting is the method to achieve the creaminess. You grind up corn tortillas in a food processor or blender with some spices and flour, then use that to make a roux. This roux then makes the creamy base for the soup along with chicken broth, with a tad of sour cream thrown in at the end. So you get an incredibly creamy soup but with the corn tortilla taste instead of the blander all-flour taste. One of the recipes called for adding corn “cobettes,” but I added yellow hominy instead. It’s all corn. I made this twice as difficult to make because I cooked the chicken for the soup from scratch, which then made the chicken broth for the soup. As always, feel free to substitute canned or boxed low-sodium chicken broth and some leftover or rotisserie chicken to save yourself the time in the kitchen. But I really enjoy making chicken broth from scratch (even though I have still have about 6 quarts of turkey and chicken broth in the freezer!).

Poblano, Serrano, Onion, Avocado, and Ground Tortilla Mix

Poblano, Serrano, Onion, Avocado, and Ground Tortilla Mix

As a side note, when I was de-seeding and chopping up the Serrano pepper (with latex gloves, yes!), my eyes started watering and I literally started choking. Yowza! That was one hot pepper, I could tell! So I only used 1/4 of the pepper instead of the whole one I was planning on. Good call, me-thinks. You can omit the Serrano altogether, too, if your family doesn’t like too spicy. In the end, my daughter inhaled the soup (but no it wasn’t a seconds or thirds soup for her) and my hubby said he really liked the flavors, but got confused by the textures. He asked if there were dumplings in it. (That was the hominy.) Sigh. But MY rating is  four-star plus!

Creamy Poblano Tortilla Soup with Chicken and Hominy

3 white or yellow corn tortillas (6-inch)
2 tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon Ancho (aka Dried Pasilla) chili powder or regular
1 teaspoon ground cumin
Lots of ground pepper to taste
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 medium onion, chopped
1 Poblano (or Pasilla) pepper, chopped
1/4 to 1 Serrano pepper, finely diced (or omit)
1 teaspoon minced garlic
3 tablespoons butter or substitute
4 cups homemade chicken or turkey broth, or low sodium subbed
1 cup yellow or white canned hominy, rinsed and drained (freeze the rest)
1/4 cup sour cream
1 1/2  to 2 cups cooked chicken, cut bite-sized
Shredded Monterrey Jack cheese
Fresh diced avocado

Start out by slicing up the tortillas into manageable chunks for your food processor or blender. Add those to your device then add in the chili powder, cumin and ground pepper. I only have a blender, so it was a bit trickier. I used the “pulse” mode, and pulsed all that a few times, then had to scrape it down, then kept pulsing and repeating the scraping until it was the texture of a coarse cornmeal, as shown in photo below.

Spicy Ground Tortillas and Flour Mixture

Spicy Ground Tortillas and Flour Mixture

In a deep-dish cast iron skillet (or sturdy dutch oven or soup pot) heat the oil over medium-high heat and add the chopped onion, Poblano, and Serrano peppers. Cook for just a few minutes then turn down to medium heat, add the minced garlic, and stir for a total of about another 8 minutes, until the onion is translucent. Now add the  butter, let it melt, then add that cormeal-ish flour mixture to the pan and stir and mix and smoosh down like crazy for the next 5 minutes or so, to form the “roux.” The main thing is to keep stirring constantly and mixing around so nothing burns in there.

Making Corn Tortilla Roux

Making Corn Tortilla Roux

At this point, verra slowly, and I mean slowly, start drizzling in the chicken broth while you whisk and stir. Just keep adding it slowly until about half of it has been added and totally mixed in smoothly. Once that is done, you can now add the rest of the broth then crank up the heat to bring to a boil. Once it’s boiling, turn down to a simmer then add the hominy and cook for about 10 more minutes, stirring occasionally.  Last, mix in the sour cream, bring up to a simmer again, then cook for another 10 minutes but don’t let it come to a boil again. Well, that’s it! Ladle into bowls and serve with chopped avocado and shredded cheese. Yowza that was good! I can say Yowza twice in my post, right? OK make that three times. I hope you enjoy this!

p.s. This is my first post using my new camera skills! No flash, no ucky yellow tone from overhead lightbulb. I’m enjoying my camera again!

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