Quick Moroccan-style Chicken Stew

For those unfamiliar with the cuisine of Morocco, its tastes are layered, subtle and absolutely delicious, blending both sweetness and heat. Spices such as cinnamon, cumin, coriander and peppers are typically combined with fruit and meat, often in slowly-simmered tagines which are as fragrant as they are flavourful. While true tagines require a special earthenware cooking pot nestled for several hours on bed of hot coals, this quick chicken stew can be prepared in a regular casserole dish, in the oven, in under an hour. You could also make it in a slow cooker, if that’s your preference. Serve the chicken stew over couscous, rice or quinoa to soak up the delicious sauce. If making for a dinner party, consider leaving the chicken breasts intact for a more elegant presentation. One final tip: make a double batch. It freezes beautifully.

With its subtle, layered flavours, this easy-to-prepare chicken dish just might appeal to everyone in your family.

With its subtle, layered flavours, this easy-to-prepare chicken dish just might appeal to everyone in your family.

Ingredients

  • 1.5 lbs (750 g) skinless, boneless chicken breasts or thighs
  • 3 tablespoons (45 mL) olive oil, divided
  • ½ cup (125 mL) diced onion
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon (15 mL) finely-chopped ginger
  • 1 teaspoon (5 mL) freshly-ground coriander seeds
  • 1/3 cup (90 mL) currants
  • ½ cup (125 mL) water
  • 2 cups (500 mL) medium or hot salsa
  • 2 tablespoons (30 mL) honey
  • 5 teaspoons (7.5 mL) powdered cumin
  • 1 teaspoon (5 mL) ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon (1.25 mL) powdered cloves
  • ½ cup (125 mL) slivered almonds, toasted
  • 2 tablespoons (30 mL) fresh coriander leaves, chopped
  • Grated orange zest

Method

  • Preheat oven to 325F (160C).
  • Cut chicken into ¾ inch (2 cm) pieces.
  • Place a large skillet over medium heat. Add 2 tablespoons (30 mL) of the olive oil; when it is warm, add chicken and brown (about 4 minutes per side), turning for even cooking.
  • Remove browned chicken from pan and place it in a medium casserole dish.
  • Add remaining 1 tablespoon (15 mL) oil to skillet and sauté onions till softened (about 3 minutes). Add garlic, ginger and crushed coriander seeds and cook, stirring, for two minutes more.
  • Sprinkle cooked onion mixture over cooked chicken in the casserole dish, then scatter currants over top.
  • In a bowl or glass measure, combine water, salsa, honey, cumin, cinnamon and cloves. Pour over chicken mixture.
  • Cover casserole with a tight lid (or use foil) and bake for 45 minutes.
  • Serve on a bed of couscous, rice or quinoa. Garnish with almonds and coriander, then quickly grate a little orange zest over each serving.
  • Note that you can easily make this dish ahead of time and gently reheat it in the oven or microwave.

Serves 4.

Posted in Meat, poultry, fish | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Contemporary Corn Chowder

I grew up eating corn chowder and while I always liked it, I never loved it. The other day I was thinking about ways to improve the standard, basic, somewhat pedestrian corn chowder recipe. In summertime, I’d most certainly grill up cobs of fresh sweet corn and add their smoky goodness to the pot. For wintertime, I decided to try adding extra flavour via my husband’s favourite smokey garnish – bacon! While this simple chowder is certainly tasty on its own, the addition of lardons of double-smoked bacon, fresh cilantro and lime juice take it from delicious to dazzling. You can easily make it up to three days before serving; just be sure to reheat it gently without boiling.

Classic corn chowder gets a tasty makeover with the addition of bacon, cilantro and lime.

Classic corn chowder gets a tasty makeover with the addition of bacon, cilantro and lime.

Ingredients

  • ¼ cup (60 mL) butter
  • ½ cup (125 mL) diced onion
  • 1 cup (250 mL) diced celery
  • 1 cup (250 mL) diced carrots
  • 1.5 cups (375 mL) low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 cups (500 mL) diced potatoes (1/2 inch or 1.25 cm cubes)
  • 1 can (14 oz / 414 mL) creamed corn
  • 1 cup (250 mL) frozen corn niblets
  • ½ cup (125 mL) milk
  • ½ cup (125 mL) 10% cream
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 slices double smoked bacon
  • ½ cup (125 mL) chopped fresh cilantro
  • Lime wedges

corn chowder tight

Method

  • In a large pot, melt butter over medium heat.
  • Add onion and sauté for 2 minutes.
  • Add celery and carrots and sauté for 5 more minutes, stirring often.
  • While vegetables are cooking, dice bacon and put in a medium skillet. Cook over medium to medium-low heat until crispy; 10 – 15 minutes. When cooked, drain bacon lardons on paper towel and set aside.
  • When onions, carrots and celery are tender, add chicken stock and diced potato to the soup pot. Stir and increase heat so it comes to a gentle boil.
  • Cover pot; reduce heat and simmer for about ten minutes, until potatoes are just tender when pierced with the tip of a sharp knife.
  • When potatoes are just tender, add canned and frozen corn. Simmer for 5 minutes.
  • Add milk and cream and heat the chowder until it is just about to come to a boil (do not let it boil). Reduce heat to minimum; taste and add salt and pepper as needed.
  • To serve, ladle hot chowder into warmed bowls. Garnish with bacon and cilantro. Serve each bowl with a wedge of lime, to be squeezed over top.

Serves 4.

 

Posted in One dish meals, Soups and stews | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Buckwheat Waffles with Blueberry-Maple Sauce

Buckwheat is one of the most delicious, nutritious and easy to work with gluten-free flours; it’s too bad whomever named it didn’t consider that it’s neither wheat nor grain. Made from the ground seeds of a dock plant (Fagopyrum esculentum), buckwheat is related to rhubarb and sorrel. I grew up eating buckwheat pancakes made from a boxed mix (thank you, Aunt Jemima) and I loved how they seemed to have so much more flavour than plain white flour pancakes. Despite being light in texture, these waffles are full of flavour and surprisingly substantial, with the characteristic crunch that buckwheat offers. While maple syrup and fresh fruit would be terrific toppings, the blueberry-maple sauce is really heavenly and not overly sweet; it can be made ahead and re-heated to speed things up in the morning. You can cook up this same batter in pancake form if that’s your preference.

These are sneaky waffles. They are light and fluffy but also substantial, satisfying and full of flavour.

These are sneaky waffles. They are light and fluffy but also substantial, satisfying and full of flavour.

Ingredients

For the blueberry sauce

  • 2 cups (500 mL) fresh or frozen blueberries
  • ¾ cup (185 mL) water
  • 1/3 cup (90 mL) maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch, dissolved in 3 tablespoons water
  • ½ teaspoon almond or vanilla flavouring

For the waffles

  • 1 1/2 cups (375 mL) buckwheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon (5 mL) baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons (10 mL) baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon (1.25 mL) cinnamon
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 eggs, separated, plus 1 additional egg white
  • 2 tablespoons (30 mL) white or coconut sugar
  • 1 cup (250 mL) plain yogurt
  • 1 cup (250 mL) milk
  • 1/4 cup (60 mL) water
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) melted butter
  • Icing or powdered sugar, for dusting

Buckwheat waffles tight

Method

  • Preheat waffle maker while making batter.
  • Make sauce by putting berries, water and maple syrup in a small saucepan.
  • Bring to a boil then reduce heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until berries are soft (this will take a little longer with fresh berries than with frozen).
  • Once berries are soft, add cornstarch mixture. Increase heat slightly and cook for about 3 minutes until thickened. If it’s too thick for your tastes, add a tablespoon or so of water.
  • Remove from heat and add almond extract.
  • Serve warm.
  • While sauce is cooking, in a large bowl, whisk together the buckwheat flour, baking soda and powder, salt, and cinnamon.
  • Separate eggs and place the egg whites in a medium bowl and beat with a stand or hand mixer, sprinkling with sugar as you beat them to soft peaks.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, yogurt, milk, water and melted butter.
  • Pour the liquids into the buckwheat mixture and stir until just combined; don’t worry if there are a few lumps.
  • Carefully fold half the beaten egg whites into the batter until completely incorporated.
  • Gently fold the remaining beaten egg whites into the batter until just combined, and there are no streaks of egg whites.
  • When your waffle maker is hot, lightly grease it with canola or coconut oil and scoop the batter onto the griddle, filling a bit more than you might usually do with a thinner batter. I used 1 1/4 cups (310 mL) with my Cuisinart Griddler.
  • Cook according to waffle maker directions (usually waffles are done when the machine stops steaming). Note that because of the buckwheat they will look a little darker than white or even whole wheat waffles.
  • Gently pull the waffles out with a fork and repeat with remaining batter.
  • Serve waffles with blueberry-maple sauce and a dusting of icing sugar.

Serves 4.

 

 

Posted in Breakfast | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Fancy Farm Girl – a new discovery for Wine Wednesday

I hardly feel qualified to write about wine. I’m not a trained sommelier, though I have attended many tutored tastings and I’ve certainly read a great deal about wine. I won’t let a lack of credentials stop me, though! Much like my friends Claire and Jared of Drink What U Love, I have a pretty free-spirited approach to wine and food pairings. I don’t agonize over choosing the perfect wine to go with a meal, even if I have spent countless hours on food preparation. For most dishes, there are several good matches so I usually feel like even if I don’t hit the bullseye, I’ll at least be on the board. Besides reducing my stress levels about wine, this approach also serves me well in another way: it encourages me to try new pairings on a regular basis. When I received two lovely bottles last week from Sue-Ann Staff Estate Winery, I thought ever so briefly about what dishes I thought might be good matches and then I got busy cooking.

Fancy Farm Girl Box

The winery is located on the Staff family’s 200 year old estate farm in Jordan, Ontario, on the Niagara Escarpment. Sue-Ann is a fifth generation grape grower and winemaker recognized as one of Canada’s most decorated wine-makers, including as “Ontario Winemaker of the Year” (first female and youngest ever). Typical of Niagara wines, her wines bear the area’s hallmark minerality and intensity, with a longevity that makes them worth cellaring…if you can. The Fancy Farm Girl series currently includes two varieties which will only be available at the LCBO for three months (Feb 7 – May 7, 2015): Frivolous White and Flamboyant Red. Future releases are planned.

label scan - '12 FFG Frivolous White

 

So why the Fancy Farm Girl branding? According to winemaker Sue-Ann Staff, “Years back while tending my family farm, I had a revelation. I loved the farm life. This is my Paris, my Australia, my South Africa, my freedom. So I dress the part and enjoy life through the rose coloured glasses of the fancy farm girl. Fancy Farm Girl is a brand concept I have been searching for since the inauguration of my winery. It brings together my personal style regarding both winemaking and attitude.”

label scan - '12 FFG Flamboyant RedAs for the pairings, I tested out the 2012 Fancy Farm Girl Frivolous White with Pad Thai and it was a big success. Like most Rieslings, its fruitiness really complemented the spicy Asian dish with its zesty lime and cilantro garnish. Next up was the 2012 Fancy Farm Girl Flamboyant Red, which is a balanced Cabernet-Merlot with lots of personality. I enjoyed this bottle with both a Moroccan-spiced chicken dish (recipe coming very soon!) as well as with pizza and it shone in both instances.

 

I’ve visited many of the wonderful wineries of Prince Edward County but I am thinking now that a trip to the beautiful Niagara area is in order. Just to further my research and learning, of course.

Disclosure: I am grateful for the gift of wine from Sue-Ann Staff Estate Winery; all opinions are my own.

Posted in Drinks | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Guilt-free truffles (gluten-free too!)

When my kids were little I held out on giving them candy as long as I could. Books for Valentine’s Day, Jiffy Pop instead of soda pop for a campout, and plastic eggs filled with cheerios, raisins and stickers for their Easter hunts. I knew they would eventually discover candy, but I was determined to postpone that day as long as possible. I would have made these truffles for them had I thought about it, and I’ll bet they’d have loved them. Creamy in texture, they are naturally sweet thanks to the dates and maple syrup, but not cloyingly so. Best of all, they are vegan and gluten-free, so you can gift them to all sorts of people. What better way to say ‘I love you’ than with a healthy, hand-made treat?

Creamy, chocolatey and with just the right amount of sweet, these gluten-free, vegan truffles are a satisfying, guilt-free treat.

Creamy, chocolatey and with just the right amount of sweet, these gluten-free, vegan truffles are a satisfying, guilt-free treat.

Ingredients

  • 1 thin slice raw beet (peeled)
  • 1 tablespoon (30 mL) water
  • 1 cup (250 mL) unsweetened shredded coconut for rolling
  • 1 teaspoon (5 mL) water
  • 1 1/2 cups (375 mL) pitted dates (preferably Medjool)
  • 3 tablespoons (45 mL) organic cocoa powder (I like Cuisine Camino brand)
  • 2 tablespoons (30 mL) unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 2 tablespoons (30 mL) quinoa flakes
  • 1 teaspoon (5 mL) finely grated orange zest
  • 1 tablespoon (15 mL) maple syrup
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • 2 – 3 tablespoons (30 – 45 mL) water or strong brewed coffee

Method

  • Cut beet slice in half and place in a small bowl; add 1 tablespoon (15 mL) water. Let sit 15 minutes or longer so the water turns vibrant pink. Discard beet and set water aside for tinting coconut garnish.
  • While beet juice is steeping, look at your initial quantity (1 cup / 250 mL) coconut. If it is in large strands, as mine was, dump it on a cutting board and chop it a bit so the pieces are finer.
  • Divide the 1 cup coconut into two shallow bowls.
  • To one bowl, add the beet juice, 1 teaspoon at a time, stirring well after each addition. The coconut will take on a lovely pink hue; keep adding juice till you like the colour. Spread the coconut out in the bowl and let it dry a bit while you make the truffles.
  • To the white coconut bowl, add 1 teaspoon of water and stir well to blend. The coconut will stick better to the truffles if it is a bit damp.
  • Purée dates, cocoa powder, 2 tablespoons (30 mL) coconut, quinoa flakes, orange zest, maple syrup, salt and 2 tablespoons (30 mL) of water or coffee in a food processor until quite smooth, almost like chocolatey playdough.
  • You want a moist dough that will stick together without being too wet to form a ball (pinch a bit together with your fingers to check).
  • If dough is too dry, add more liquid, ½ teaspoon (2.5 mL) at a time. If you overdo it on the liquid, add more coconut or quinoa flakes, ½ teaspoon at a time, until mixture reaches desired consistency.
White and beet-tinted unsweetened coconut make the perfect toppings for these truffles. You won't taste the beets - I promise!

White and beet-tinted unsweetened coconut make the perfect toppings for these truffles. You won’t taste the beets – I promise!

  • Shape dough into approximately twenty balls, about ¾ inch (2 cm) in size, and roll in white or pink coconut.
  • You can also flatten the balls and pinch them a bit to make them heart shaped before rolling in the toppings.
Make sure the coconut is in fine bits rather than large flakes and it has a bit of moisture in it; it will stick to the truffles better.

Make sure the coconut is in fine bits rather than large flakes and it has a bit of moisture in it; it will stick to the truffles better.

  • Package them in some of those little boxes you’ve been saving for ever, knowing you’d need them one day, with mini muffin pan liners to separate the truffles.
Small boxes and mini muffin tin liners are great for packaging truffles.

Small boxes and mini muffin tin liners are great for packaging truffles.

  • Store in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to one week.

Makes about 20 guilt-free truffles.

 

 

Posted in Desserts | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Getting back to basics in the kitchen and in life

I was intrigued.  An offer to spend a weekend with some clever, interesting people, embracing rustic pastimes as well as experiencing the latest in automotive technology – how could I say no? I know what you’re thinking – I’m a food blogger, right? So why did I think this was a good fit for me? The back to basics theme being promoted nationally by Ford Canada is one you might quickly recognize in my culinary adventures. I love exploring the roots of cuisine and many of the recipes and techniques I present here on the blog are precisely about getting back to basics. Whether it’s robust chicken stock (which apparently is now called bone broth; were my grandmother still alive, she’d snort in derision at the new appellation),  deconstructed cabbage rolls or even vegetarian lasagne, I love looking at traditional foods and decoding or refreshing them a little for contemporary cooks.

Back to Basics Logo

Buckle up: this is going to be a long-ish post, but I hope you’ll enjoy the ride.

First up – why ‘back to basics’ for Ford? Ford Motor Company actually employs a futurist; her name is Sheryl Connelly and her job is to predict trends up to three years ahead of time. For her 2015 TrendBook, she sees us embracing technology more than ever, but also taking advantage of its ability to improve the quality of our lives (see the Active Park Assist below). As she explains, “Ford this year launched its ‘Pursuit of a Happy Commute’—a year-long program designed to help make the daily drive a happier and less stressful experience. By identifying ways to simplify and enhance the overall driving experience, Ford is reviving the joy of driving—making it a pleasant escape, rather than a necessary drive.”

Robin Buck gave us a great refresher on winter driving safety which included useful tips on vehicle maintenance.

Robin Buck gave us a great refresher on winter driving safety which included useful tips on vehicle maintenance.

The winter driving refresher we were offered at the beginning of our 30 hour Ford adventure yielded some important tips. I learned helpful things from professional race car driver and instructor Robin Buck, like turning off your traction control system if you get stuck in snow, to reduce spinning. As far as winter tires go, in our climate they’re a must-have, says Robin; he also told us that the average driver gets a flat tire every 80,000 km – have you beaten the odds, as I have?

Despite decades of driving, I learned a lot at the  outset of our trip. Time to review winter driving info with the rest of my family!

Despite decades of driving, I learned a lot at the outset of our trip. Time to review winter driving info with the rest of my family and make sure we have a proper emergency kit in each vehicle.

As our group headed off to Mont Tremblant, I was in the midsize hybrid 2015 Ford Fusion Energi; it’s a comfortable car loaded with some advanced features including Active Park Assist. This technology uses a series of sensors to help you locate a suitable sized parking space and line your car up to prepare for parallel parking. The freaky part comes next: you put the car in reverse, take your HANDS OFF THE STEERING WHEEL (all caps because that’s what my brain was going through when I tried it out) and the car steers itself perfectly into the slot, with just a little help from your foot on the gas and brake. While I, as an urbanite, have learned to embrace parallel parking, I expect people who go to great lengths to avoid parallel parking (you know who you are) will love this technology and yes, I really can see it reviving the joy of driving for the parking-averse.

See that great parallel parking job? The Ford pretty much parked itself, thanks to Active Park Assist - it was amazing. And driving that sweet 6-speed Mustang was pretty awesome.

See that great parallel parking job? The Ford pretty much parked itself, thanks to Active Park Assist – it was amazing. And driving that sweet 6-speed Mustang was pretty awesome.

After having the parking technology completely blow my mind, I enjoyed getting behind the wheel of a snazzy 6 speed, manual transmission Mustang and taking it for a spin. I hadn’t driven standard in about 3 decades so I was a little nervous when JR Fortin, another race car driver/instructor, welcomed me into the vehicle. It turns out he must moonlight as a therapist because not only did he offer the perfect coaching for a successful session, he actually restored my confidence in that delicate clutch/gas/brake dance.

The luxurious Hotel Quintessence was the ideal spot for a physical and mental recharge.

The luxurious Hotel Quintessence was the ideal spot for a physical and mental recharge.

Autos aside, the rest of the back-to-basics program revolved around simple pleasures. The luxurious Hotel Quintessence on Lac Tremblant really knows how to pamper. Meals showcased Quebec foods, expertly prepared by Chef Georges Laurier’s kitchen (I still miss his Laurier sur Montcalm restaurant in Gatineau).

From first bite (and sip) to last, everything I tasted at Hotel Quintessence was superb. Plus, you have to love a spot that gives you TWO creme brulees for dessert!

From first bite (and sip) to last, everything I tasted at Hotel Quintessence was superb. Plus, you have to love a spot that gives you TWO creme brulees for dessert!

Sommelier Sophie Huberdeau also led us through a lovely wine tasting, pairing several exceptional bottles from their vast cellar with outstanding Quebec cheeses. Saturday evening ended with a very back-to-basics experience: making gourmet s’mores outdoors over a roaring fire while snow fell softly all around us.

Making gourmet s'mores over a campfire as snow was falling was the perfect way to end our 'back to basics' day.

Making gourmet s’mores over a campfire as snow was falling was the perfect way to end our ‘back to basics’ day.

It was perhaps the final two activities on Sunday morning which left the most profound impact on me. First was an extraordinary tea tasting with the knowledgeable and serene Marc-André Latour of L’essence du thé, who revealed so much about the ancient art of tea cultivation and brewing. I learned that it takes seven pounds of tea leaves to produce one pound of dried tea and that some truly lovely teas have kickass names like Black Dragon and Iron Goddess of Mercy. I also learned more about the ideal brewing proportions and temperatures. I am seriously rethinking my morning tea ritual now.

Taking time to truly savour some quality teas has encouraged me to make more of this ritual in my daily life.

Taking time to truly savour some quality teas has encouraged me to make more of this ritual in my daily life.

The last event was a very cold trip up to the summit of Mont Tremblant for a guided snowshoe excursion.  As I took in the incomparable view from the top of the mountain and then traipsed along a trail lined by snow-laden trees sparkling in the morning sun, I reflected on how I want to incorporate the notion of getting back to basics and slowing down a little bit more in my life and my cooking. It’s good for the soul.

The picturesque village of Mont Tremblant is beautiful all year round. Although it was a bitterly cold day that required Michelin-man style clothing, the brilliant sunshine and a brisk pace on the trails soon had us all warmed up.

The picturesque village of Mont Tremblant is beautiful all year round. Although it was a bitterly cold day that required Michelin-man style clothing, the brilliant sunshine and a brisk pace on the trails soon had us all warmed up.

Disclaimer: I am grateful to have been the guest of Ford Canada on this excursion; opinions expressed are my own. 

 

Posted in Miscellaneous goodies | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Super Seafood Chowder

I once heard someone who hails from Boston, Massachusetts proclaim that we should all forget about Taco Tuesday. “Where I come from, it’s always Chowdah Chooseday!” (Repeat it out loud, now, in your best Boston accent.) I’m thinking of him today as we suffer through another bitterly cold winter day, and I know the only antidote is a bowl or three of this delicious, thick and creamy chowder. My Nova Scotia roots are shining loud and proud in this recipe; you can tailor it to suit your seafood preferences – it is delicious with just haddock and decadent when you include lobster, lobster pâté and shrimp. Note that you can even make this gluten-free, if preferred! Serve it with a crusty loaf and a green salad and you’ll not miss those tacos one bit.

Rich and creamy, this hearty chowder is packed with seafood and vegetables.

Rich and creamy, this hearty chowder is packed with seafood and vegetables.

Ingredients

  • 5 tablespoons (75 mL) butter, divided
  • 1 cup (250 mL) diced onion
  • 1 tablespoon (15 mL) minced garlic
  • ¾ cup (185 mL) diced celery
  • ½ cup (125 mL) diced carrots
  • 1 cup (250 mL) vegetable stock
  • 2 cups (500 mL) water
  • 2 cups (500mL) peeled, chopped potatoes (in 3/4 inch / 2 cm pieces)
  • ¼ teaspoon (2.5 mL) each dried oregano and summer savoury
  • 2 bay leaves
  • ½ teaspoon each salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 4 tablespoons (60 mL) flour (use sweet rice flour for gluten-free version)
  • 1 cup (250 mL) milk
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) cream cheese or marscapone
  • 1 – 2.6 oz/75 g can lobster pâté (optional but really, really delicious)
  • 2 tablespoons (30 mL) vermouth (optional)
  • 2 frozen haddock fillets (approximately 7 ounces / 200 grams) *
  • 1 cup (250 mL) shelled small (but not cocktail sized) frozen shrimp (optional)
  • 1 – 11oz/320g can frozen lobster meat, thawed (available at most grocery stores)
  • Chopped fresh parsley for garnish

* Note: if not using any of the additional seafood, add another 2 – 3 haddock fillets

Method

  • Heat 2 tablespoons (30 mL) butter in a large pot over medium heat.
  • Add onion and cook for 3 minutes until softened, stirring frequently.
  • Add garlic and cook, stirring, 1 minute.
  • Add celery and carrot; cook 3 minutes more, stirring often.
  • Add vegetable stock, water, potatoes and seasonings. Stir well then cover pot. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to medium and cook until potatoes are just tender (test with the tip of a sharp knife), about 10 minutes or less, stirring gently a few times.
  • While potatoes are cooking, in a separate small pot, melt remaining 3 tablespoons of butter. Add flour and cook, stirring constantly for about 2 minutes or until flour is nicely incorporated and cooked.
  • Gradually add milk to the butter and flour, a bit at a time, stirring or whisking vigorously, to create a smooth, thick white sauce. Add cream cheese or mascapone and cook for 3 about three minutes, until cheese has melted and fully blended in. Remove from heat and blend in lobster pâté and vermouth, if using.
  • Meanwhile, cut fresh or partially defrosted fish fillets into one inch (2.5 cm) pieces. When potato is just barely tender, stir in haddock, shrimp, and lobster meat.
  • Cover, and stir very gently a few times while cooking over medium heat for 5 – 6 minutes, until fish is opaque.
  • Add white sauce and and stir very gently to blend. If the chowder is thicker than you prefer, add a little more milk. Heat for just a few minutes until it is steaming but not boiling. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.
  • Remove bay leaves. Serve in warmed bowls with a garnish of fresh parsley.

Serves 4.

 

Posted in Soups and stews | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment