Haddock and corn chowder

Hmm, two corn recipes in a row.  Unplanned but they’ve tempted me each week when I remember to order my veg box (well, veg and many other things) from Farm Direct.  and when I don’t remember and pick and choose what’s on display at the depot on a weekend morning, they’re been hard to resist, looking all perky with their husks stripped away just enough to display the fleshy kernels inside (ooh-er).

So another weekend, another sweetcorn love-in, accompanied by a beautiful piece of smoked haddock.  Farm Direct’s fresh fish suppliers have been pretty tip-top so far, undoubtably because they’re sold so quickly after being caught.  This is my first smoked fish I’ve ordered from them, supplied by The Maldon Oyster Company and it was just smoky enough, and happily, not dyed bright yellow.

I fried (technically, sweated, but I hate that term in cooking. “Sweated” does not have tasty connotations) an onion, two small carrots and a couple of ribs of celery, all chopped in a reasonably small dice, roughly matching the size of a corn kernel. I could even go so far as to call it an almost-brunoise. (Australian Masterchef is clearly having an influence on me….) The celery came all good and dirty, and with its leafy tops, so I kept them to one side.
In an attempt not to cover the kitchen in flying corn kernels, I tried slicing the cobs on their side, rather than holding them vertically and slicing down, which was far more successful!  Don’t know why I didn’t think of that earlier.  In went the corn kernels and a diced potato, swiftly followed by about a pint and a bit of milk, and about half a pint of water, along with a couple of bay leaves.  This simmered gently for about 20 minutes. 
While the vegetables were cooking, I took about half my haddock (so about 175g), skinned it and dropped the skin into the soup to lend some extra smokiness.  The haddock was chopped up into chunky spoon-sized pieces.  The skin was left in the soup for about 5 minutes, then I fished it out in exchange for the haddock pieces.  The fish doesn’t take long to cook at all, barely 5 minutes, enough time to slice up some bread and get the bowls out. Just before I served it, I added the chopped celery tops and let them wilt.
With some bread on the side, a filling weekend lunch for two, and enough left over for a couple of weekday lunches.

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