As an alternative starter for your Burns Night celebrations why not try this Smoked haddock chowder (instead of the more traditional cock-a-leekie soup). Use Arbroath Smokies if you can get hold of them and the flavour will be smoky deep and delicious.
Smoked Haddock, Bacon and Mussel Chowder
- 1 pack of bacon lardons or cubetti pancetti
- 500gr Arbroath smokies or smoked haddock fillet
- 900g potatoes, cubed
- 450g mussels
- 50 cl white wine
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 leek, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- Knob butter
- 500ml full-fat milk
- 100 ml Double cream
- Flatleaf parsley & lemon to serve
- Put the mussels and the white wine into a pan with lid, bring to the boil to steam the mussels. Once open get the mussels out of their shells and set aside, keeping the cooking liquid in a separate bowl.
- Poach the Arbroath smokies or smoked haddock in the milk until tender and flaking. Remove the fish from the skin and bones and flake. Keep the poaching milk.
- In a heavy based large casserole pan fry the bacon lardons until crisp. Remove half for garnish later.
- Add the onion, leek and garlic to the bacon bits with a knob of butter and cook gently until the vegetables become translucent. Add the potatoes cubed, and continue to cook for a couple of mins.
- Add the mussel cooking liquor, and the poaching milk, and some water to cover (if necessary). Simmer very gently until the potatoes are soft. Add half of the smokies and half of the mussels to the chowder and blitz the whole lot in a food processor or liquidiser until smooth and creamy. If it is very thick add a little more milk to get the desired consistency.
- Return to the pan and stir in the retained fish and mussels, and the double cream and warm through. Check to adjust seasoning – Arbroath smokies are quite salty but you may need to add salt and almost certainly black pepper.
- Serve in cups or bowls topped with the reserved bacon and some chopped flat leaf parsley. A squeeze of lemon juice on top can make all the flavours really zing!