Back in November, when I was planing our Christmas menus, I came across the website for a traditional fish smoking company, the Port of Lancaster Smokehouse. Smoked haddock risotto was going to be our Christmas Eve dinner and I wanted some good quality smoked haddock, properly smoked. So, I duly placed my order and then it snowed. And it snowed and snowed ...
Suffice it to say we didn't get our smoked haddock for Christmas!
However, the company did send out a replacement order earlier this year and it was definitely worth the wait.
By this time, recipe plans had changed and this smoked haddock was now destined for a chowder. Chowders are usually milk or cream based so the first thing I did was to choose a dairy free alternative. Coconut milk was the obvious choice for a rich and creamy base, together with some well flavoured fish or vegetable stock, as well as garlic, bay leaves and sprigs of fresh thyme to minimise any coconuttiness.
I'd already decided that I wanted to use something other than potato to thicken the chowder. Pumpkin was a possibility but the wrong colour. However, white butter beans were ideal, pureeing some with the coconut milk as a thickener and keeping the rest whole for added texture.
I love the combination of smoked haddock and leeks, the mild oniony flavour is perfect with the smokiness of the fish and the green slices give a burst of vibrancy to the paleness of the chowder.