Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Tilapia chowder with fresh tarragon

I used to buy those frozen packages that contained several fillets of tilapia; they were cheap, and what did I know? I've come to find it's worth spending an extra few bucks to get fresh fillets. Not only do they taste much more delicious, but they are much meatier than those flimsy frozen ones that have very little flavor until you add a bunch of stuff to them.

The idea for this recipe came from a recipe I saw a long time ago. It sounded so wonderful, but it had bacon and heavy cream. I think those ingredients are great for special occasions, but I wanted to make an everyday kind of soup that I wouldn't feel guilty about. I think part of what's so great about fish is that it's so healthy low-cal, and tilapia in particular is super lean. I also wanted a recipe I could throw in the crock pot and forget about for a while -- especially this week because I've got a lot on my plate (hee-hee).

Here's what I came up with. The fresh tarragon is very important, so don't consider leaving it out! It's a favorite herb of mine, and if you've never had it, take a taste to make sure you like it. It's got a hint of anise (slightly licorice-y).

Tilapia chowder with fresh tarragon (serves about 5)

1 pound tilapia fillets, cut into bite-sized chunks

1 medium yellow onion, chopped

3 celery stalks, chopped

2 potatoes, chopped (I left the skins on)

2 carrots, sliced

1.5 teaspoons chicken broth powder

1/2 cup frozen peas

1.5 cups frozen corn

2 cups water

coarsely ground salt and black pepper, to taste

1.5 cups soy milk

about 4 tablespoons fresh tarragon, torn

1.) Put all ingredients except 3 tablespoons tarragon and the soy milk in a crock pot. Stir gently to blend, and cook on low for about 3.5 hours.

2.) Sprinkle the leftover tablespoons of tarragon on top of the chowder just before serving. I sprinkled a little on each individual bowl.

"I believe that if I ever had to practice cannibalism, I might manage if there were enough tarragon around." (James Beard, as quoted at Timeless Quotes)

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