We had some frozen pieces of Atlantic Cod in the freezer and in the interest of not eating chicken three nights in a row (I made southwestern style chicken and black bean soup on Wednesday and will be making chicken cacciatore tonight) I decided to make some New England style fish chowdah’ (I’m a Masshole, remember). Some complications are that Mike is allergic to dairy proteins, he is celiac, and he doesn’t eat any meat other than chicken. So things like rendering bacon fat, adding flour to make a roux, and then adding milk isn’t possible. I’ve gotten quite good at making adjustments to the types of dishes we both like to eat so that Mike can enjoy them and I don’t feel like I’m missing out. I have to say this was one of my better adjustments.
Quickly, and from memory…
Scrub and cut up into medium size chunks some potatoes. I use the white ones so that I don’t have to bother with peeling them.
Chop up one small or half of a large onion into a medium dice.
Chop up 3-4 ribs of celery.
Use a large soup pot and heat some olive oil up. Saute the onion and celery until they just start to wilt. Add the potatoes and stir again until they are coated in the oil and have begun to heat up. Add just enough chicken stock/broth to cover the potatoes. Add about 1 tablespoon of dried thyme and one large bay leaf (or two small ones). Cover the pot with a tight lid and simmer until the potatoes are tender. Add the cod and push them down until they are surrounded by liquid. Cover the pot again and simmer for 5-7 minutes more until the fish is tender. About a minute or two before the fish is done you can throw in a cup or so of frozen peas. It isn’t traditional, but I always like to have something green at dinner and in the interest of making a one pot dinner I decided to do so.
Remove the lid and pour in some coconut creamer or soy creamer (So Delicious brand is one we like); not flavored of course. Don’t confuse coconut creamer with canned coconut milk! There is a world of difference in flavor. We absolutely love the coconut one and prefer it over the soy, but its a matter of personal taste. I actually didn’t need to add too much – maybe somewhere between 1/4 and 1/2 cup. It is mostly for color and to add a touch of richness.
Turn the heat off and then add some instant potato flakes to the pot and gently stir the chowder until it has reached the desired thickness. I like my chowder thick and I added at least one cup to mine – possibly more. I love having instant potato flakes on hand for thickening soups. There is a really wonderful and natural one that Bob’s Red Mill makes that I am very grateful for. It is simply dehydrated potatoes with no additives. Bob’s products are so widely carried these days you don’t need to go to their store here in Oregon, but it is actually fun to go there if you ever get the chance. He runs a great company and his employees are treated very well. A 16oz bag of potato flakes is $3.59; not too bad.