Making this soup really stepped up my annoying culinary joke game last week. Anytime I make/eat/order/think of chowder, I think of the Simpsons chowda/chower Freddy Quimby scandal episode, which makes me laugh out loud regardless of time or location:
which, as you can imagine, made me very happy. Just for the halibut…. hahahahaha…. Oh, top hat crab! You so crazy.
On to the soup. I’d stumbled across the idea for salmon chowder, which sounded delicious but quickly changed when the halibut entered my life. I decided to make a halibut, cod, and shrimp chowder just for the- wait for it- because I wanted to. Gotcha.
This soup can be made with whatever sturdy fish fillets you have on hand. You want the fish to be thick enough to stand up to being cooked in hot broth- the goal is to have large, spoon-sized chunks of cooked fish in the soup, not flakes. Leave the fish out altogether if you prefer- shrimp, chunks of lobster, and scallops would be equally amazing. This was a really tasty dinner and improved, as most soups do, overnight. It keeps for a few days and travels well. All in all, a tasty, hearty, warming dish.
- 2 lbs fish, skinned and boned, cut into 1″ chunks, or 2 lbs seafood and shellfish mix of your choice
- large handful peeled and deveined shrimp, optional
- 2 tbsp butter or olive oil
- 1 1/2 tbsp flour, optional (leave out for gf option)
- 1/2-1 tsp dried tarragon
- 1/2 tsp fennel seeds
- kosher salt, to taste
- 1/2 tsp cracked black pepper
- 3 leeks, white and light green bits chopped into rings
- 3 stalks celery, chopped
- 1 1/2 lbs fingerling potatoes, scrubbed and cut into rounds
- 1 clove minced garlic, optional
- 1 bulb fennel, stalks and fronds cut off, chopped into small pieces
- large handful kale, chopped
- 1/2 cup frozen corn, thawed
- 6 cups stock or broth of your choice
- 1 cup half-and half
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh chives, optional
- Crystal hot sauce, for serving – or (sacrilegious) Tabasco
In a large stockpot, heat the butter or olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the leeks, fennel, celery, and garlic, stirring and cooking 3-4 minutes. Increase the heat if they start to steam-cook; you want to retain some crunch.
Add the tarragon, fennel seeds, and flour if you’re using it. Stir well and cook for two minutes more. Add the stock and bring to a boil. Add the potatoes, kale, black pepper, and a big pinch of kosher salt, and bring the soup back to a boil. Cover the pot and reduce heat to medium-low, cooking for 10 minutes.
When 10 minutes is up, uncover and add whatever seafood you’re using.
Crank the heat back up to medium high and cook this another five minutes, until the fish and shellfish are cooked through. Stir in the half-and half and chives, cooking for two more minutes.
Let the soup cool down a bit and serve, passing the hot sauce. My beloved Crystal really complemented the flavors in this dish- I liberally doused each bowl I had and I’m glad I did. Enjoy! Let me know what changes you make to your version!