Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Cod Chowder

Lulled into thinking only warm weather ahead, we were unpleasantly surprised by a few cold and blustery days.  Of course, this is the weather that we are used to and we should not feign shock when it presents itself.  The downside of this is that the asparagus was also lulled into thinking it was time to rear its pretty little green spears and got a surprise coating of frost.  Undaunted, it continues to spring up and the pickers are a month away from arriving.  Our only hope is that our small local farmers are out in the field keeping an eye (and maybe a warm blanket?) on the growth.  I've also heard that we might have a shortage of fruit as the peach and cherry trees are wondering what to do.  The upside is that soup needed to be on the menu for awhile longer.  There was some cod in the freezer that needed using and we enjoyed a bowl of chowder for dinner last evening.  It's quite delicious and I hope you'll give it a try.

Early Spring Cod Chowder

2 slices bacon, finely chopped
1/2 yellow onion, diced
1 rib celery diced
1 tsp chopped fresh thyme leaves
1 bay leaf
1 Tbsp flour
1/2 pound potatoes, diced
1 cup chicken broth
1 (8-10 ounce) bottle clam broth
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 pound frozen cod, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1/2 cup frozen corn
1/2 cup half-and-half

1.  Heat a large heavy pot over medium heat and add the bacon.  Cook until the bacon is crispy and brown, stirring most of the time.  Using a slotted spoon, remove the bacon to a paper towel and reserve.  Leave the drippings in the pot.
2.  Add the onion, celery, thyme and bay leaf to the pot and cook, stirring frequently, for 6 to 8 minutes, until the vegetables are softened but not browned.  Sprinkle in the flour and cook, stirring, another 2 minutes.
3.  Add the potatoes, chicken broth and clam juice and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat to low and simmer until the potatoes are tender but still firm, about 5 minutes.
4.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Add the cod and corn.  Simmer for 5 minutes more.  Remove the pot from the heat and cover allowing the cod to finish cooking.
5.  Return the chowder to low heat and stir in the half-and-half until just heated.
6.  Sprinkle the reserved bacon over and serve.