A taste of Ireland: Hearty Potato, Cabbage and Smoked Fish Soup
The potatoes absorb the smokiness of the fish while leeks add a subtle flavor. The liquid is a made of low-fat milk and chicken stock.
With St. Patrick's Day nearly upon us, our minds often turn to corned beef and cabbage. This recipe was inspired by that tradition, but swaps out the corned beef in favor of smoked fish in a richly satisfying savory stock.
In Ireland, they like to smoke mackerel, whitefish, salmon and haddock. Smoked haddock actually originates in Scotland, but the Irish have pulled it into the family circle.
My cabbage of choice here is either Napa or savoy. Both are relatively light with a delicate texture. Of course, regular green cabbage also works, as will red cabbage (assuming you don't mind a pink soup), but be careful not to overcook whichever cabbage is in the pot.
Now on to the potatoes and leeks. In this recipe, the potatoes absorb the smokiness of the fish and provide bulk. The leeks add a distinct and subtle flavor. You can swap in onions, the leek's ubiquitous cousin, if you have trouble finding leeks.
The liquid is a combination of low-fat milk and chicken stock. Why chicken stock? Because I've never found a commercial fish stock to my taste. Likewise, I'm no fan of commercial clam juices. In any case, the liquid requires some kind of stock because soups made only with dairy are too rich for me.
Add a tossed salad and a pint of Guinness, and you can call it a meal.
© 2014 Tampa Bay Times
HEARTY POTATO, CABBAGE
AND SMOKED FISH SOUP
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 large leek, white and green parts, medium chopped (about 2 cups)
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 cups low-sodium chicken stock
1 pound Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into ½-inch dice
2 cups 1 percent milk
½ teaspoon dried thyme
4 cups shredded Napa or savoy cabbage
½ pound smoked fish fillets (trout, whitefish, haddock or mackerel), skin discarded, fish coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
Thinly sliced scallions, to garnish
Smoked paprika, to garnish
In a large saucepan over medium-low heat, melt the butter. Add the leek and cook, stirring until very soft but not colored, about 10 minutes. Add the flour and cook, stirring for 2 minutes. Increase the heat to high, add the stock in a stream, whisking, and bring to a boil.
Add the potatoes, milk and thyme, then bring the mixture to a simmer. Cover partially and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the potatoes are just tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Stir in the cabbage and simmer until tender, about 3 minutes. Add the fish and lemon juice and cook just until the fish is heated through. Season with salt and pepper. Ladle into bowls and garnish with scallions and a sprinkle of paprika.
Makes 4 servings.
Nutrition information per serving: 360 calories (100 calories from fat, 28 percent of total calories); 11g fat (6g saturated, 0g trans fats); 70mg cholesterol; 38g carbohydrates; 4g fiber; 9g sugar; 26g protein; 380mg sodium.