Today, we finished up with the last touches on the Christmas tree. It began snowing in the morning, and all day a light gentle snow fell--not enough to accumulate, but enough to give a cheery Christmas look to the outdoors. Trees both indoor and out are decorated.
So, herewith, the pics, and then soup--I promise.
Now to soup. Tomorrow is our church's annual Soup Bistro. I have written about this topic before, explaining that everything is donated--the supplies, and the volunteer time. The beneficiary is a local organization that helps people in need.
We made the New England Fish Chowder--yum. Lots of chunky vegetables, and fish (of course) along with whole milk and cream. Oh, oh, oh. . .
Tomorrow we will be tired--but tonight we are happy.
NEW ENGLAND SEAFOOD CHOWDER
8 bacon slices, chopped
2 large onions, chopped
1 Tbsp. dried thyme
2 bay leaves
4 cups seafood stock or clam juice
1 tsp. saffron threads **
2 cups diced peeled white potatoes (1/2 inch dice)
3 cups diced peeled butternut squash (1/2 inch dice)
1 lb. chopped frozen kale
5 cups whole milk
1 cup half and half
2 tsps. salt
3 lbs. mixed fresh white fish, cut into ¾-inch pieces.
Saute chopped bacon in heavy soup pot until fully cooked and all fat is rendered. Remove bacon from pot and discard bacon fat, leaving only a small amount of fat for sautéing onions.
Add onions to the pot and sauté til soft, about 5 minutes. Add thyme and bay leaf and stir over low heat. Add seafood stock and saffron and bring to a simmer.
Carefully place potatoes and butternut squash cubes into the hot broth. Bring the broth just back to a simmer. Add chopped frozen kale. Immediately add the milk, the half and half, and the salt. Add bacon back into the soup. Bring to a low simmer.
Add fish pieces to soup and turn off heat immediately. Simmer until all the ingredients are cooked through.
** On the off chance you don't buy saffron threads every week, I would suggest you can skip these. A small portion--a teeny tiny amount in a regular spice bottle--cost us about $15 in a local grocery store. I gulped, but bought it anyway. Since it adds just a touch of flavor, and mostly is used for the yellow color--I would say. . .skip it. Really.