Fenland celery, smoked haddock & sweetcorn chowder
Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 35 minutes
750ml whole milk
750g undyed smoked haddock fillet
½ tsp black peppercorns, crushed
2 bay leaves
50g unsalted butter
5 sticks Fenland celery, chopped into 2-3cm pieces
1 onion, chopped & washed thoroughly and sliced
1 carrot, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
175ml white wine
2 tbsp plain flour
2 medium sized potatoes, peeled and cut into 2cm dice
200g can sweetcorn, drained
Generous handful of fresh flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped
Squeeze of lemon juice, to taste
Salt & freshly ground black pepper
For the poached eggs:
4 large fresh eggs
Pour the milk into a wide-based pan and add the fish, cutting it into pieces if necessary so it fits in a single layer. Sprinkle over the pepper and tuck in the bay leaves. Bring the milk up to a gentle simmer, cover with a lid or tight-fitting piece of foil, and poach the fish gently for 5-8 minutes. It is cooked when it flakes easily. Gently lift the fish from the pan onto a plate, set aside and reserve the poaching milk.
Melt the butter gently in a large, heavy-based pan with Fenland celery, onion, carrot and garlic and sweat over a low heat for around 10 minutes until starting to soften. Add the white wine and allow it to bubble and reduce by about half. Stir through the flour and pour in the reserved poaching milk, mixing constantly until thickened. Add the potatoes and the sweetcorn, cover with a lid and simmer gently until the potatoes are cooked through but not falling apart. This will take around 30 minutes.
Whilst the chowder is simmering flake the fish, discarding the skin and taking care to remove any small bones that may be lurking. Add the flaked fish to the pan just as the potatoes are cooked – it only needs warming through. Add the parsley and a squeeze of lemon juice to taste. You may also need to add a little salt depending on how salty the smoked haddock is.
To serve with poached eggs: When you are ready to serve, start to poach the eggs by filling a wide-based pan with cold water. Bring up to a rolling boil and turn the heat down to a really gentle simmer. Carefully crack in the eggs and allow them to poach undisturbed until they are cooked to your liking – 4-5 minutes should give you a set white and runny yolk.