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27 October 2005

For those of you who missed the news story — what with all the hurricanes and wars and Dick Cheney blowing people’s covers — Massachusetts is about to float away. I think it’s rained on something like 25 of the last 30 days. If I were a real journalist, I’d have the exact statistics, but that’s not the point.

The point is: it’s damp and cold, and I’ve been craving soup. But I didn’t know what kind of soup until I looked in the pantry tonight. I found leeks in the vegetable crisper, a packet of smoked haddock in the meat drawer and a bag of potatoes that I had bought at the farmers’ market yesterday to make rösti.

I had been thinking about making a smoked haddock chowder for a while. Instead of getting the salt and smoke from bacon or salt pork, you’d get it from the haddock. So this would be chowder that more folks could enjoy since it would be kosher and, if not vegetarian, at least sans red meat.

Here’s what I came up with:

2 tablespoons butter
1 medium leek, white and light green parts only, well washed and finely chopped
1 medium large potato, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice
1/4 pound smoked haddock, any skin and bones removed
1 cup water or mild stock (preferably fish stock)
1/2 cup low-fat milk
1/2 cup half-and-half
Salt and pepper to taste

In a large saucepan, heat the butter until it sizzles. Add the leeks and sauté until soft and shiny.

Add the potatoes, the haddock, the milk and the water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the potatoes are tender.

Flake apart any large chunks of fish. Add the half-and-half and bring back to a simmer.

Season to taste and serve immediately.

Serves: 2

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