Cod and Chourico Chowder
August 28, 2011
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Last February I posted a version of this Portuguese-style fish chowder using frozen and canned ingredients. Now that fresh vegetables are abundant I thought it a good time to reprise it with fresh. Alas, the fish I used was frozen since fresh cod is very expensive here but if you can get fresh by all means use it. Remember that the stock is the key to the final result so use a good fish or seafood stock (I made mine from a salmon head and some shrimp shells) but do not use too much—this is a chowder, not a soup. Enjoy it with a glass of wine and perhaps some crusty Portuguese rolls.
Note: chourico is a spicy Portuguese sausage that it pretty readily available in New England and the Northeast. If you cannot find it you can substitute fresh chorizo or kielbasa. If you do use kielbasa, render it before using because it tends to be much fattier than chourico.
Serves 2 to 4
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 dried bay leaves
- 4 or 5 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1 medium onion, diced
- ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
- 1 chourico sausage, about 8 ounces, sliced ¼-inch thick
- 1 pound firm, all-purpose potatoes, scrubbed or peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
- ½ cup dry white wine
- 2 cups fish stock, preferably homemade
- Water as needed
- ½ pound fresh tomatoes cut into ½-inch pieces
- 6 ounces fresh green beans broken into 1- or 2-inch pieces
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 12 ounces cod filets, cut into 1-inch pieces
Heat the olive oil in a large soup pot or enameled Dutch oven over medium heat. When hot add the bay leaves and cook for a few minutes until they turn brown. Add the garlic and cook, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, for 30 seconds or until fragrant and lightly golden. Add the onions and allspice. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until the onions are soft but not browned, about 5 minutes. Add the chourico and sauté for yet another 5 minutes. Finally, add the potatoes and stir for a couple of minutes to coat with the fat in the pan. Deglaze the pot with the wine then pour in the stock. If needed add a bit of water to just cover the potatoes. Bring to a boil then cover and simmer over low heat for 10 minutes.
Uncover the pot and stir in the tomatoes and green beans. Season with a generous grind of black pepper and salt to taste. Turn the heat up a bit to maintain a simmer for another 10 minutes.
Gently fold in the fish—you do not want to break it—and simmer for a final 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and let stand for 10 minutes before serving.