Monday, November 25, 2013

The Comforts of Chowder

Ahh, the glorious Lake Trout.  A simply enormous fish, they are one of my more favorite locally-found fishes.  I particularly love them smoked, caught fresh from the icy waters of Lake Superior and flavored by smoky hardwoods.  One of my favorite local butcher shops carries them in quantity, along with smoked whitefish, walleye, and ciscos (which look a bit like super-sized sardines).  There is just something about the colder weather that makes me long for the rich taste of smoked fish, and so it's the perfect time to make a pot of my favorite Smoked Trout & Corn Chowder.

Smoked Trout & Corn Chowder

You'll need: one pound of smoked trout, skin and bones removed, flaked; two cups frozen corn nibblets; one large potato, peeled and finely diced; one medium onion, finely minced; two stalks celery, finely diced; 2 teaspoons dried thyme; salt and pepper to taste; two tablespoons butter; one cup half and half; two cups chicken broth plus two cups water; half-cup shredded smoked gouda cheese.

To start things off, heat butter and add onion, potato, and celery.  Saute for five minutes over medium-low heat, until onion is translucent.  Add broth and water, heat to a boil and then reduce to low heat an simmer for 20 minutes.

At the end of the first simmer, add the corn nibblets and stir.  I like to add the thyme now as well, plus a little salt and pepper to start seasoning.  Cover pot and simmer again for five minutes.  Next, add the flaked fish and shredded cheese.  Stir until cheese melts.  Add the half and half, heat through, and season with salt and pepper as needed.

I love to make a batch of simple, homemade biscuits (made with lard, of course!) to go with it.  My recent favorite flavor combination is dill-cheddar biscuits with this smoky, rich chowder.  Absolutely wonderful!

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