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Fish Chowder with Dill Oil

Serves 6, takes 100 minutes, plus 3 hours for the dill oil 


Inspired by a chowder we had in a lovely little fish café on a trip through County Cork a few years ago, this is a fragrant, sophisticated, incredibly tasty fish soup that is even lovelier with a few blobs of dill oil floating greenly on the surface. 

400g mixed chowder fish – cod, coley, ling, haddock, in 2.5cm dice 
1 tspn smoked salt
½ tspn fresh ground black pepper
400g raw unpeeled prawns
Light olive oil 
200g carrots, scrubbed and chopped 
200g onions, peeled and chopped 
2 tbspns tomato puree 
½ tsp fennel seeds 
a good handful of fresh dill stalks or a tspn of dried dill
1 tbspn dried tarragon or a drizzle of Pernod
30g butter 
50g flour 
70mls double cream 
Salt & pepper to season

Dill Oil and lovely bread and butter to serve

  • Rub the fish all over in the smoked salt and pepper, put back in the fridge 
  • Preheat the oven to 220C. Peel the prawns and place the shells and heads in a baking tray with a good drizzle of light olive oil, and bake for 10 minutes 
  • Put the roasted shells and heads in a large saucepan or wok with the carrots, onions, tomato puree, tarragon, dill and fennel seeds, and 2 litres of water. Bring to the boil, and turn down to a bare simmer for 1 hour. Strain into a bowl, and clean out the wok or saucepan 
  • Put the peeled prawns in your blender and add a couple of ladles full of the stock and blend very well. Add this mix back to the stock
  • Put the wok or pan back on a medium heat. Melt the butter, and stir in the flour till you have a nice sandy textured roux, then start to pour in the prawn stock, stirring continuously till you have a nice smooth, thickened soup. When you’ve added all the prawn stock, drizzle in a little Pernod, stir in the cream, then correct the seasoning with unsmoked salt and pepper. The whole process can be paused here  
  • When you’re 10 minutes away from serving, bring the soup back to a boil, and add the fish. Simmer till it’s just cooked. Serve in soup bowls with a drizzle of dill oil, and some lovely bread and butter