It has been freezing here in the UK for the last few days. We’ve had snow, hail and lots of wind. It’s the type of weather which makes me want to snuggle up in front of a fire, with a patchwork quilt and a mug of hot chocolate. Perfect weather for this hearty, warming smoked haddock chowder served in rustic bread bowls.
First of all make the bread. For convenience I used premixed ciabatta flour that I just had to add warm water to and knead.
I split the dough into quarters, shaped into balls and left to prove in the airing cupboard for about half an hour.
Bake at about 200oC for 25 minutes or until they sound hollow when tapped on the underside.
Leave to cool before slicing the tops off and scooping out the middle. Retain all the innards for dipping in the chowder later.
Once scooped out, brush the insides with a little olive oil and put back in the oven on a low temperature for about 20 minutes to crisp up.
Now on to the chowder. Pour about a pint and a half of skimmed milk into a saucepan. Add four fillets of undyed smoked haddock, a halved onion, a sprig of fresh dill, a bay leaf and some thyme and bring to a gentle simmer for about eight minutes.
In the meantime saute a leek, some celery and a peeled potato diced pretty small in some butter and olive oil. Stir regularly. After the haddock has simmered for a few minutes, add a tablespoon of plain flour to the leek mixture and cook it out for a minute or so.
Drain the haddock over the pan with the leeks in stiring continually to avoid any lumps.
Let the sauce come to a gentle simmer. Once the sauce has thickened and the potato cubes are tender remove the skin from the haddock and flake into the sauce along with a couple of handfuls of sweetcorn kernels and some fresh spinach.