Fish Chowder with Grilled Garlic Baguette

This one is a real comfort food. Aaron and me usually cook a large pot of this, good enough to serve the two of us for 2 to 3 meals. We tuck ourselves each to a large bowl of these along with a mountain of toasted garlic breads. Doesn't have to be baguettes, plain toasted bread squares works well too.

This recipe is comforting in a way that it has everything in a bowl, from nutrition wise to yummy ingredients. I usually add in whatever leftover vegetabes that I have in my fridge in here. Potatoes is the one, always abundance in the fridge asking to be cooked and mashed.

I also do make fresh bread loaf when I have the time but we both hate it when it turns stale the following day. I suppose homemade breads are healthier in a sense that you don't have bad additives and softener in it so we don't really mind when it turned stale. But we mind eating it.

So, what other better way to eat stale breads apart from toasting them? I choose to grill them instead because they look better that way. I need to make food look good first in order for them to taste good :)

If you are always busy and running about, I hope you will make this and tuck into it in front of your favourite movie, sipping it on a cold winter night. It's July now, which means it's officially winter. I hate Adelaide's weather. It was 3°C this morning and it's 4°C now.... freaking chilly!

Fish Chowder (serves 4)
Adapted from Ultimate Cooking Course and Kitchen Encyclopedia

4 thickcut bacon slices, cut in small pieces
1 large onion, chopped
1 to 2 large carrots, chopped into small chunks
2 large Desiree potatoes, cut into small chunks
Seasalt and black pepper
5 cups of fish stock or bottled clam juice
1 pound of skinless haddock or cod fish fillet, cut in 1-inch cubes
1 tbsp dried parsley
1/2 tbsp dried chives
1 cup whipping cream or whole milk
Generous handful of spiral pasta, cooked until al dente and set aside (optional)

In a clean, deep saucepan, fry the bacon until fat is rendered.
Add the onions and the potatoes and cook over low heat without browning, about 10mins or so.
Season to taste with seasalt and black pepper.

Pour off excess bacon fat from the pan and add the fish stock, both dried parsley and chives to the pan.
Bring to boil and lower heat to simmer for about 15-20mins to cook the vegetables until they are tender.
Use a potato masher to break up the potatoes a little to give it the chowder consistency.

Stir in fish cubes and simmer until fish is just cooked, about 3 to4 mins will suffice.
Stir the milk or cream into the chowder and reheat until cream is heated through.
Add cooked pasta if desired at this stage and reheat to warm it thoroughly.
Season to taste and serve immediately.

Grilled Garlic Baguette

1/2 a loaf of French Baguettes, sliced thickly (any other stale bread will do too)
Finely minced garlic
Mixed herbs

This is the only thing I can do without exact measurements. Cooking is so forgiving compared to baking! I have on many occasions swapped cream for evaporated milk, added in leftover celeries, reduce other vegetables and they still turn out delicious. Try missing out 1 tsp of baking powder in your cake batter and be prepared for a failed, dense cake!

Anyways, mix softened butter or even melted butter with lotsa minced garlic and enough mixed herbs to colour the yellowy butter nicely.

Spread it on the baguettes and place it under the griller for 2mins.

Serve hot alongside fish chowder.

This is one of my many comfort food. I'll post more soon since it's winter now. What's your comfort food?

Photos updated: 27 October 2009, 30 0ctober 2009

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