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Smoked fish, mussel, and saffron chowder

January 21, 2009

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Serves 4

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
1 carrot, finely chopped
1/2 leek, finely chopped
2 stalks celery, finely chopped
1/4 cup flour
2 large vegetable bouillon cubes, coarsely chopped
Pinch of saffron
5 cups whole milk
1 bottle (8 ounces) clam juice
1 pound skinless, boneless smoked haddock or whitefish fillets
1/2 pound peeled, cooked baby shrimp
1 pound mussels, rinsed well and debearded
2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill (for garnish)
1. In a large flameproof casserole, heat half the butter. When it melts, add the onion, carrot, leek, and celery. Cook, stirring often, for 8 minutes or until they soften.

2. Add the remaining butter to the vegetables. Blend in the flour and cook, stirring constantly, for 5 minutes or until the flour colors slightly. Add the bouillon and saffron. Stir well. Gradually pour in the milk, stirring constantly, until it is all added and the mixture is smooth.

3. Stir in the clam juice. Bring to a boil.

4. Add the fish and shrimp. Lower the heat and simmer very gently for 5 minutes, stirring gently from time to time.

5. Add the mussels and cover with the lid. Turn up the heat and cook for 2 minutes (watch the pot so it doesn't boil over) or until the mussels open. Sprinkle with dill.

Adapted from Ard Bia & Nimmo's