Fish Chowder

Today it rained and rained and rained.  Where has our summer gone?  The wind is coming up and the leaves are starting to turn. There was one small moment that the rain stopped its noisy downpour this afternoon, but everyone was sleeping so we missed our chance to get out and get some fresh air.  Maybe tomorrow.  All this weather has made me crave a hearty soup with potatoes and celery and a creamy broth. I spent some time crafting this recipe while the snoozers were still snoozing.  When everyone woke up, the whole house was filled with the smell of simmering chowder and hot french bread.
Most of the recipes I researched to make Fish Chowder started off with dicing up about five pieces of bacon, rendering the fat and using it to start your saute of vegetables.  I love bacon, but good lord that would make for an intensley unhealthy soup and isn’t soup supposed to make you feel good?  Lets put some good stuff in it.  For the potatoes, you can use Yukon, yellow, red, white, sweet potatoes, whichever.  Be sure to do your chopping ahead of time which will make your assembly smoother and expect to eat as soon as the soup is complete. Reheating this soup with the previously cooked fish is possible, but it tastes better when eaten immediately.  If you want to make it ahead of time, prepare it right up until you add the fish and refridgerate it.  Reheat the soup to a simmer and start adding the fish from there the day you expect to serve it. The salt content may appear high, but remember you are seasoning 4 cups of potatoes, 10 cups of broth, and this soup feeds eight people.
Fish Chowder
2 swirls of olive oil
2 t. butter
2 yellow onions, chopped 1/2 inch dice
1 1/2 C. celery, chopped on bias
2 t. white pepper
2 t. salt
1 t. thyme
1 bay leaf
4 C. potatoes, diced 3/4 inch
10 C. fish stock, shellfish stock, or chicken broth
1 T. chicken boullion cubes or consumme’
1 thick cod fillet cut in healthy pieces
3/4 C. milk
1/2 C. whipping cream
2 T. chopped parsley
1 T. bacon bits
In large dutch oven, add olive oil and butter over medium high heat.  Once melted, add onions, celery, pepper, salt, thyme and bay leaf and saute about 6 minutes until soft, but not browned.  Add potatoes, stock and boullion and bring to a gentle boil, reduce heat and simmer for 12 minutes or until potatoes are done cooking.
While your soup is simmering, add the fish pieces and cover for about 8 minutes.  By this time the fish should be cooked through and perfectly flaky.  Pour in milk and cream and gently stir to combine.  Spoon into soup bowls and garnish with chopped parsley and bacon bits.
Enjoy it with a loaf of warmed french bread.
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