Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Who Wants Some Chowdah?

We decided it was time to take a break from Indian and Italian last night. A hearty fish chowder seemed like a good idea, especially given the inhumanly cold Chicago weather. The chowder (or chowdah as my mom likes to say) that we made was pretty straight forward to prepare and very tasty. Here are the ingredients you'll need:

120 g of bacon (from applegate farms, certified organic and humane)
1 large onion
4 cloves garlic
1 carrot (finely chopped)
2 ribs celery (finely chopped)
1 jalapeño pepper
1 to 2 pounds potatoes
1 liter of chicken stock
3 large tomatoes
2 cups corn (freshly removed from the cob or frozen)
1 kg white fish (we used tilapia and cod)

Chop the bacon and slowly fry in a large, heavy bottomed pot. Once the bacon is nice and crispy, drain off some of the bacon grease (but not all), and add some butter, the onions, garlic, carrot, celery, and jalapeño and cook until onions are nice and not crispy. Add the potatoes and the stock and cook for a few minutes. Taste to see if it could use some salt at this point. Next add the tomatoes and corn and cook until the potatoes are tender. If you'd like to make the chowder a bit thicker, you can mash some of the potatoes against the side of the pot. Now you can add the fish, cut into medium-sized cubes. Cook for 10-15 minutes or until fish looks done. Add a few bunches of freshly chopped basil and up to about a cup of cream depending on how creamy you like your chowder. We served it up with some nice crusty french bread, topped with some feta cheese, and with some white wine. Here is how it looked:

1 comment:

  1. If you’re a foodie, you probably already have heard of Food De Fa Fa, a new Hyde Park spot causing buzz because of the less-is-more approach of the chef-owners, Jonathan and David. Consider this the Toyota Prius of restaurants, where sustainability meets style.

    The room reflects the stripped-down cooking approach. The 7-seat space is very Hyde Park, with exposed kitchen and high concrete ceilings. The limited menu of the day is usually announced via email, so you might want to subscribe to the restaurant’s mailing list (at http://fooddefafa.blogspot.com/).

    The chefs pride themselves on their farmer-friendly approach to ingredients, especially proteins such as meat and fish. They buy whole animals, rather than just premium cuts, from farmer-suppliers in an effort to support the farmers. "It’s also about respecting the animal," says Jonathan.

    That’s pretty cool because they turn out some rather unexpected dishes, including chowdah, essentially a fish soup. The flavor’s deep and earthy; try it along with crusty French bread and feta cheese, which arrive in a cute raku bowl and are great for sharing. The portions are hearty, but you will definitely want a second serve.

    The approach at Food De Fa Fa is quite ambitious but the experience is pretty consistent. Service is friendly and attentive (exactly what you expect from a neighborhood joint).

    If you’re someone who appreciates a hand-crafted approach, check out Food De Fa Fa. You could even be lucky enough to be invited by the owners to watch a (usually highbrow) movie in the adjoining private projection room.

    Food De Fa Fa is BYOB for now, but plans to eventually get a liquor license.