Eating hearty foods during the winter is a staple during the harsh New England winters. Comfort food, however does not need to be unhealthy, as many people believe. Chili, casseroles and soups are among the favorites that keep us warm and happy. Fish is a wonderful source for Omega 3 fatty acids that have been shown to keep your heart healthy, cholesterol down and your brain functioning well. So, why not combine the benefits of eating fish and our love of comfort foods? We found a wonderful recipe from Epicurious for fish soup that can keep you warm, happy AND healthy this winter.
- 1 large leek, green part coarsely chopped and white part cut into 1/4-inch pieces
- 5 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
- 2 celery ribs, coarsely chopped
- 2 carrots, coarsely chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, smashed
- 1/4 teaspoon crumbled saffron threads
- 2 bay leaves (not California)
- 1 teaspoon dried hot red pepper flakes
- 1 1/4 lb plum tomatoes, coarsely chopped
- 3 tablespoons canned tomato purée
- 2 cups dry white wine
- 1 1/2 qt white fish stock
- 1 (8- to 9-inch) unsliced round or oval pain au levain or sourdough loaf (1 lb), crust discarded
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 lb skinned white fish fillets such as halibut, snapper, and/or bass, cut into 1-inch cubes
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups rouille
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Make broth: Wash green and white parts of leek separately in a bowl of cold water, then lift out with a slotted spoon and pat dry. Heat 3 tablespoons oil in a 6-quart heavy pot over moderate heat until hot but not smoking, then cook leek greens, onion, celery, and carrots, stirring, until beginning to soften, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring, 3 minutes. Add saffron, bay leaves, and red pepper flakes and cook, stirring, 2 minutes. Add fresh tomatoes and tomato purée and cook, stirring, 4 minutes. Add wine and simmer, uncovered, until liquid is reduced by about half, about 30 minutes.
Stir in stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, 30 minutes. Carefully pour through a fine sieve into a bowl, then discard solids.
Prepare croûtes while broth simmers:
- Preheat oven to 300°F.
- Heat a well-seasoned ridged grill pan over moderately high heat until hot. Brush bread with remaining 2 tablespoons oil, then grill on all sides until grill marks appear. Tear bread into roughly 3-inch pieces and bake on a baking sheet in the middle of the oven until crisp outside but soft inside for about 10 minutes. Cool croûtes.
- Heat butter in a 4-quart heavy saucepan over moderate heat until foam subsides, then cook white part of leek, stirring, until beginning to soften, about 2 minutes. Add fish, hot broth, and salt and bring to a simmer (fish will be cooked through). Remove from heat and stir in 1/2 cup rouille.
- Put croûtes in soup plates and ladle soup over. Sprinkle with oregano and parsley and serve remaining rouille on the side.