Fish and Corn Chowder

Wow. It’s cold enough to make a pot of soup! How did that happen? It’s been raining all day – flood watch until Tuesday – with that wet, penetrating cold. Granted, I’m sill in shorts, t-shirt and thongs – flip-flops for those of you west of California – but it’s a bit nippy outside. I’m inside. Warm, comfortable, and full of hot soup. It’s moments like this where I could not care less about what the weather is – I’m content.

Tonight’s dinner was brought to you by the 2 ears of corn I didn’t use when I wrote about corn on Tuesday. And then it snowballed into a clean-out-the-fridge-and-freezer meal. Amazing how that happens, isn’t it?!?

My first thought was to simply make a corn chowder, and then I espied the white fish – cod and haddock – in the freezer. Next thing I knew, I was making a fish and corn chowder with the remnants of the vegetable bin, a partial bag of frozen mixed vegetables, clam juice, pancetta – also from the freezer – and assorted herbs and spices from the cupboard.

It’s how soup is supposed to be made – no recipe – just throw it in a pot and make it hot!

Now… In theory, chowder is a soup thickened with cream or a roux. I didn’t use either – I cooked a russet potato in the broth and let it break down. But chowder sounds better when paired with corn and fish, so chowder, it is!

For those who like a bit of clarification, here’s what I did:

Fish and Corn Chowder

  • 2 oz pancetta
  • 1/2 red onion, chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 cup prosecco
  • 1 qt clam juice
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 russet potato, chopped
  • 6 oz baby potatoes, quartered
  • corn kernels cut from 2 ears of corn
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen mixed vegetables
  • 3 tomatoes, diced
  • 5 scallions, chopped
  • 1 lb white fish cut into pieces
  • S&P, as desired
  • assorted herbs and spices – try herbes d’provence or Old Bay, or Italian Seasoning…

Brown pancetta in a stock pot. Add celery and onion and cook until wilted. Add garlic and cook just for a second or two.

Add prosecco – or white wine – stir up any bits from the pot, and reduce down slightly. Add clam juice and broth and bring to a boil. Add potato, cover, reduce heat, and cook until potato is falling apart. Mash into broth.

Stir in corn, baby potatoes, mixed vegetables, tomatoes, and scallions, along with S&P and herbs. Cover and continue simmering until vegetables are cooked though.

5 minutes before serving, stir in fish.

Ladle into bowls and serve with crusty bread if you’re lucky enough to have some!

This really the ultimate in clean-out-the-pantry soup. And, surprisingly, the bowls were too big! We both made it through half and were full – this eating less stuff is having it’s desired effect! I also ate one slice of crusty bread when once upon a time, I would have eaten half a loaf – with butter.

The times they are a changing…