Monday, October 11, 2010

Smoked Snoek & Sweet Potato Chowder

Smoked Snoek and Sweet Potato Chowder [photo]

As someone so eloquently put it "Stellenbosch has decided to receive its annual rainfall in one evening."  Spring is most definitely *not* in the air at the moment, despite the colourful blooms adorning the leaf-filled trees and the intoxicating smell of jasmine in the air.

But isn't that the beauty of the transitional seasons? You are presented with almost daily changing weather, which in turns presents you with an almost daily changing smorgasbord of activies and food to indulge in. Fancy an outdoor picnic? Just wait for the next sunny day. You'd rather curl up in front of the fireplace with a sweet and decadent drink? Well, suitable weather is bound to be just around the corner for that as well. It's the best of both worlds, isn't it?

When the temperatures took another dive and I was faced with the bounty of potatoes in my vegetable rack it seemed only natural to try my hand at a chowder. As I quipped to TheHusband, this soup is any cat's dream - consisting of smoky, salty fish drowning in a mixture of milk, cream and starchy goodness. Incidentally, both of them wholeheartedly approved of both the aroma and the taste of the individual ingredients. 

As for the finished dish, well let me just say that TheHusband was slurping it up like it was nobody's business. Considering he is a bit weary of seafood in genearl, it should give you some indication of just how more-ish this chowder is. And what could be more deliciously South African than snoek and sweet potatoes? Belly-warming goodness, without a doubt.

Smoked Snoek and Sweet Potato Chowder [photo]

Smoked Snoek & Sweet Potato Chowder
Inspired by Crush! (this is a stunning recipe by the way - go check it out)
Serves 4

1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 medium onion, chopped very finely
1 1/2 tsp turmeric
1 large sweet potato, peeled and grated
2 small potatoes, peeled and grated
1 cup water
2 cups milk
1/2 cup cream
125g cottage cheese 
1 tbsp coarse, grainy mustard
250g smoked snoek, bones removed and flaked
salt to taste and a generous amount of black pepper 

1. Heat oil in a fairly large pot (large enough to hold a fair amount of liquid later on) over medium-high heat. Add onion, sauteeing until see through. Add turmeric and fry another 30 seconds or so to release the fragrance.
2. Now add potato and sweet potato as well as water and milk. Bring to a boil and then lower heat and allow to simmer for 20 - 30 minutes or until potatoes are soft.
3. Stir cream, cottage cheese and mustard through, then add snoek and gently stir to combine.
4. Season with salt and black pepper and allow to cook on a low heat for another 5 minutes. 

Serve hot with big chunks of bread. This soup behaves like a stew in that the flavour improves if left overnight.

Replace cottage cheese with any combination of cheeses of your choice - I've added bits of feta before, as well as some creamy camembert and even blue cheese. Taste as you go and make it your own!


Jane-Anne Hobbs on October 15, 2010 5:47 pm said...

I love your spicy take on this Marisa, and the use of sweet potato. Lovely photographs!

Marisa on October 15, 2010 7:18 pm said...

Thanks Jane-Anne - the sweet potato really does add something quite special to the chowder. Looking forward to seeing your rendition. :-)

Claudz on October 15, 2010 8:22 pm said...

Looks great!! Always looking for ways to use smoked snoek and I love sweet potato. Another one to add to the "must make" list!

Juanita said...

How divine!

Anna on October 17, 2010 11:31 am said...

Lovely soup, I was looking around your site and I'm lovin' it. You have great pictures and yummy recipes.

Spoon and Chopsticks on October 17, 2010 11:31 am said...

Looks great. Really nicely done!

Sara Lancaster on October 17, 2010 11:31 am said...

Not sure why my profile didn't come through...trying again, so you know who I am!

Sara said...

I never know what to do with sweet potatoes (other than make fries or pie:), so this is great! And I love the way you refer to "TheHusband" as one word. Cute.

Joanne Bruno on October 17, 2010 11:31 am said...

I'm not sure if we have snoek here but I wonder if I could make this with smoked salmon... the weather here in the northern hemisphere has been flip-flopping as well. One minute its 80 degrees, the next its 60. I just can't keep track anymore.

Arnold on October 17, 2010 11:31 am said...

Snoek and sweet potatoes, this will make any 'Swartlander's" heart very happy. This is comfort food at its best.

Marisa on October 17, 2010 11:31 am said...

Thanks. :-) Hope you enjoy exploring the many sweet potato options. Watch out for a great veggie bake featuring sweet potatoes next week.

Marisa on October 17, 2010 11:31 am said...

Thanks Anna! Always nice to see a new face around here. :-)

Marisa on October 24, 2010 3:17 am said...

I think you need the smoky flavour in this dish - I'd try smoked haddock if snoek wasn't available. Most other smoked fish would work, perhaps with the exception of salmon...

Judy on October 24, 2010 3:17 am said...

You're right, this IS a stunning recipe. I see sweet potato, cream, cottage cheese, tumeric! What a melting pot (literally) of intense flavours. Would the flavours be really different if I used white fish instead? What alternatives are there for snoek?

Best Montana Elk Hunts Rifle 7 Day Pack Trip Click Here on March 04, 2014 3:26 pm said...

You have out done yourself on this fish chowder.....This is beautiful.

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