Saturday, April 21, 2007

Saturday Soup 8

When I first started posting soup recipes on Saturday, I promised to try to follow a kind of rotation. I quickly realized that I would need to keep track of which recipes I had posted. Whew! I've made more work for myself on these blogs than I intended--but, being an organized person, I made a list that I add to each week, and save. So come Saturday, I check the list, make sure I haven't already posted the particular recipe, or make sure my soup choice isn't too close to last week's.

I see that I have not yet posted a recipe with fish as the main ingredient. This soup, Salmon Potato Chowder, is just plain yummy. It features an unusual ingredient--one that I had not used ever before making the soup--fennel bulbs.

On the The World's Healthiest Foods website, the description of fennel is most interesting. Here is a small portion:

Fennel is a versatile vegetable that plays an important role in the food culture of many European nations, especially in France and Italy. Its esteemed reputation dates back to the earliest times and is reflected in its mythological traditions. Greek myths state that fennel was not only closely associated with Dionysus, the Greek god of food and wine, but that a fennel stalk carried the coal that passed down knowledge from the gods to men.

Fennel is composed of a white or pale green bulb from which closely superimposed stalks are arranged. The stalks are topped with feathery green leaves near which flowers grow and produce fennel seeds. The bulb, stalk, leaves and seeds are all edible. Fennel belongs to the Umbellifereae family and is therefore closely related to parsley, carrots, dill and coriander.

Fennel's aromatic taste is unique, strikingly reminiscent of licorice and anise, so much so that fennel is often mistakenly referred to as anise in the marketplace. Fennel's texture is similar to that of celery, having a crunchy and striated texture.


Serves 12

2 Tbsp. butter
1 large onion, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 fresh fennel bulb, chopped
2 tsp. dried thyme leaves
1 tsp. fennel seeds
2 bay leaves
6 medium red-skinned potatoes cut into 1-inch cubes
4 cups vegetable stock or clam juice
1 cup tomato juice or V-8
2 lbs. fresh salmon fillet, skinned and cut into 1-inch cubes
1-1/2 cups heavy cream
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh tarragon

Melt butter in a large stock pot over medium heat. Add onion, celery, and fennel and sweat 4 minutes, until tender.

Add thyme, fennel seeds, bay leaves, and stir to coat the vegetables.

Add potatoes, stock and tomato juice and bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat, partially cover, and simmer for 20 minutes. Remove bay leaves from pot.

Add salmon. Remove pot from heat as we do not want to overcook salmon. It will start to cook as soon as it hits the hot soup mixture.

Stir in heavy cream and fresh tarragon.



Anonymous said...

It sounds yummy. But why oh why so much butter and heavy cream? And I’m supposed to steer clear of butter. I just read this to Verna Mae while she was reading over the recipe and she said, “It isn’t so much butter, just 2 Tbsp.” but I saw “butter“, and I’m supposed to steer clear of butter, only using zero fat margarine, and that doesn’t cook, only spread. I guess we could try to sub olive oil. How would that work?
Love, Father “C”

Cathy said...

I'm thinking my hubby would love this. Fennel. I never knew anything about this plant and I'm quite sure I've never used it in anything. I'm not a great cook and have always steered clear of anything exotic (for me that's horseradish or capers ;0) I know - I'm hopeless. Maybe it's not too late. Fennel . . . .hmmmm. . .fennel . ...

Ruth said...

I have never cooked with fennel, but have made a fish chowder with white fish and potatoes that was very good. I am sure the heavy cream could be substituted with evaporated milk or roux (with some loss of taste!) Many cheeses have as much or more fat as heavy cream. Served with a salad and low fat dessert I would call this a very healthy meal. Thanks.

Mary said...

This is another recipe I'm adding to my "Donna's Soups" file. We love salmon.

I believe that fennel is good for the digestive tract. Colicky babies are given a catnip and fennel elixer to soothe their little bellies. It worked for my colicky baby!

KGMom said...

Father C--the soup is yummy. I wouldn't advise olive oil--especially since it has such a distinct taste that might not go well with other flavors in soup. I think you could reduce or eliminate the cream--maybe use 2 % milk. It won't taste as rich, but I think that's the point for you.
Cathy--the nice thing about most of these soup recipes is they are really fairly easy to make, even for not "great cooks."
Ruth--your suggested combo sounds great to go with the chowder.
Mary--well, I learn something new--fennel for upset colicky tummies!

LauraHinNJ said...

I'm not a salmon eater, but like fennel. My bunnies ADORE it, too! I grow bronze fennel in the garden for the swallowtail butterflies to lay their eggs on. None of this has anything to do with your soup recipe, however.

KGMom said...

LauraH--your growing fennel and your bunnies loving it may not relate to the recipe, but it is interesting. You asked a comment or so back about my reading The Master Butchers Singing Club--I am really enjoying it; it is the first I have read an Erdrich novel. I have read her poetry before.

LauraHinNJ said...

Really, I didn't know she wrote poetry too.

I read "Yellow Raft in Blue Water" (which was written by her husband) and "Love Medicine" and maybe a few others. I go on kicks with reading, you know, and was enjoying her during my American Indian kick. Unfortunately, that lead me to something else and I haven't gotten back to any of her other books yet.

dmmgmfm said...

I'm making this for my dad when I go see him next. He will LOVE it, I am absolutely certain!

Thank you!

Catbird said...

The soup sounds fantastic! I love fennel, and imagine it goes especially well with salmon. Do you think leeks or ramps (wild leeks) would work instead of onion?

For those who, like Father C,. are concerned about using butter and heavy cream, I suggest looking into dairy (and meat) from grass-fed cattle, which is high in CLAs (congugated linoleic acids), known as "good fats." Grass fed is healthier for the animals (they evolved to eat grass, not grain), and for those who, like me, can't bear to do without butterfat. Here's a link to some info:

Anonymous said...

Hmm, looks good! I agree, what about leaks? I am a big leak person!

KGMom said...

Laurie--hope your dad does like the soup!
Catbird & Mon@rch--I really don't know about using leeks in place of onions, but why not? I have never cooked with leeks, or ramps for that matter.