Countryman Seafood Chowder
Serves: 6+ Preparation time: 10 minutes. Cooking time: 15-20 minutes
1 tbsp of olive oil
110g/4oz of RSPCA Freedom Food or outdoor-reared streaky bacon, rind removed - cut into 5mm/¼ inch dice (optional)
175-225g/6-8oz of onions - chopped
25g/1oz of flour
850ml/1½ pints of fish stock.
425ml/¾ pint of milk
Bouquet garni made up of parsley stalks, sprigs of thyme and a bay leaf
6 medium sized potatoes, cut into 5mm/¼ inch dice
Salt and freshly ground pepper
700g/1½ lb of mixed local white fish, free of bones and skin (you can use fresh salmon for additional flavour and colour)
150ml/¼ pint of single cream
450g/1lb of mixed cooked shellfish – Any local shellfish available such as mussels, scallops and prawns.
Heat the oil in a stainless-steel saucepan and brown the bacon until it is crisp and golden. Add the onion, cover and sweat for a few minutes over a low heat. Stir in the flour and cook for 1-2 minutes and then add the fish stock or water gradually. Next, add the milk, bouquet garni and potatoes. Season well with salt and pepper. Cover and simmer until the potatoes are almost cooked - around 5 or 6 minutes.
Cut the fish into 2.5cm/1 inch cubes. Add to the pot as soon as the tip of a knife will go through a potato. Simmer gently for 3-4 minutes, stir in the cream and add the shellfish. Taste and correct the seasoning if required and sprinkle with freshly chopped parsley and chives. Serve in a deep dish with plenty of warm crusty rustic bread and butter.
Top tip: Remember that the fish will continue to cook in the heat of the chowder, so be careful not to overcook it.