A warming, comforting dish for all year round appeal. I keep a bag of mixed, cooked seafood in the freezer which contains prawns, squid, mussels and cockles. This adds variety and different flavours and textures to the chowder. Any fish works with this dish, but I particularly like a smoked fish of any description in the mix. Pop round to your local fish shop, fish counter or supermarket and see what looks good, or is on offer. Look for the mackerel packs in the supermarket, they have various different ones including peppered and smoked and also other smoked fish such as trout and salmon. Mackerel is particularly good value. The skin on the mackerel will pull off very easily by hand so don’t be put off by the preparation of this.
Ingredients: (per person)
½ medium sized leek, finely sliced
2 teaspoons sunflower oil
1 baking potato, peeled and cubed
250ml whole milk
½ teaspoon salt
80g tinned or frozen sweetcorn
80g frozen peas
1 smoked mackerel fillet, boned, skinned and broken into chunks
2 tablespoons of mixed seafood
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons creme fraîche
On a low heat on the hob cook the leek in the sunflower oil until it’s softened.
If you can multi task peel and cube the potato(es) whilst keeping an eye on the leek so that it doesn’t burn, stir every so often to stop it sticking and burning.
Add the diced potato, the salt and the milk and cook gently so that it just bubbles and the potatoes are tender. They should give no resistance when a sharp knife is inserted. Stir in the sweetcorn, peas, mackerel and seafood. Once the chowder returns to a gentle simmer season with pepper and salt if necessary. Careful with the both salt and pepper, try for seasoning before adding anything as you’ve already cooked the potatoes in some salt, the mackerel will also be a little salty and if you’ve used peppered mackerel this too will add pepperiness to the seasoning.
If the mixture is a little too loose, or thin for your liking once the creme fraiche has been added (which will thicken it to a certain extent) use a little cornflour in water to thicken it some more. Serve in a low bowl or plate with some of your favourite bread which is also good for dipping and cleaning the bowl!