Winter Warmer- Fish Chowder

Best for warming you up from the inside out!

I'm really not appealed by the thought of a fish stew made with cream and the idea of it actually used to turn my stomach, but once I made this chowder and tried it for myself I seriously regretted any preconceived ideas about this dish and really now it's one of my favourites.

You will need...

1 small brown onion, peeled, diced finely
1 carrot, peeled, cut into 1cm cubes
1 celery stick, diced into 1cm pieces
2 medium washed potato, peeled and cut into 1.5cm cubes
1 garlic clove, crushed
185gr sweet corn kernels (fresh or tinned doesn't matter)
100gr bacon (smoked is best, but not essential)
1kg fresh black mussels, de-bearded, washed and drained
400gr white fleshed fish, skinned, cut into 2cm cubes*
50gr butter
40ml olive oil
1 cup white wine
1.5Lt pure cream
Parsley, chopped
Cracked black pepper

Method...
1. Place a large saucepan over a high heat. Add the olive oil and when it begins to smoke carefully add your mussels and white wine. Cover quickly with a lid and wait 30 seconds. Without removing the lid, give the pot a shake and leave for another 30 seconds. 
2. Remove the lid, check if the mussels are all open. If they are not open, they will need further cooking until they do pop open (some may remain closed- these ones you can discard). 
3. Strain the mussels from the liquid AND KEEP THE LIQUID. Allow the mussels to cool slightly and remove from their shells. Cut the mussels up so they are roughly all halved.
4. In a large stock pot, over a medium-low heat add the butter, once it has melted add the onion and bacon and sweat until the onion is transparent. Add the carrot, celery and potato and sweat for another minute before adding the garlic and quickly cooking to release the flavour.
5. Turn up the heat, add the cream and the mussel stock and bring to the boil. Add the fish and let it come up to boil again. Reduce the heat and cook for 5 minutes. 
6. Check the potatoes are softened and that the fish is cooked through, then add the cooked mussels, chopped parsley and cracked pepper and cook for a minute. Taste to see if it needs salting- the mussels and bacon will have added a saltiness to the chowder already, but add some if you think it needs it.

Serve with some crusty bread and chopped chives on top to garnish.



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