• Chef Nate

Salmon Chowder, Hobbit Style

I recently did a rewatch of the LOTR trilogy and I came up with this Shire inspired fish stew. It uses a lot of heavy ingredients that would have been found in Bilbo's pantry, fit for fine supper amidst the company of a wizard. How is it Hobbit style? Crispy bacon and POH-TAE-TOES.

Ingredients :

4 cups of Fish Stock

1/4 - 1/2 lbs of bacon, sliced into 1/2 inch pieces

1 red onion, diced

4 celery ribs, diced

1 medium parsnip, diced

1 lbs of potatoes, diced

1 cup of heavy cream

1 cup of milk

1 tablespoon of cornstarch

1/2 - 1 lbs of salmon, cubed

1 tablespoon of fresh dill

Method :

- On low heat in a medium pot, put the sliced bacon and render out the fat. Stir it occasionally, until there is a good amount of fat in the pot and the pieces have crisped slightly.

- Add in your celery, onion and parsnip. Increase the heat to medium and sweat out these vegetables until tender. Stir frequently, to make sure the bottom doesn't burn.

- Add in your fish stock, bringing it up to a boil. Then reduce to a simmer for 15-20 minutes.

- While you wait for the stock to come up, take the cornstarch and milk and make a slurry. Once the pot has simmered nicely, add in your milk slurry along with the heavy cream and potatoes.

- Again, bring this mixture up to a boil, then back to a simmer for as long as it takes for the potatoes to become tender. Taste them after 20 minutes.

- Gently stir in your salmon. Let this cook for 3 minutes, then turn off the heat. The salmon will continue to cook in the stew.

- Season with salt, pepper and the fresh dill

My whole inspiration for this was just my love for the Hobbits. All they want to do is tend to the garden, lounge and eat. Sounds like my kind of people! And although the setting of middle earth in the books and films does imply a more medieval time, Tolkien has said the Shire is based upon his childhood in the Victorian English Countryside. So this more refined dish i think fits among the repertoire of any Took, Brandybrook or Proudfoot.

You can easily make this recipe vegan or vegetarian by substituting most of the animal ingredients for vegetable ones. For stock I recommend a mushroom broth, but use a simple veggie broth if you want a lighter colored soup. There is no substitute for bacon, just use 3-4 garlic cloves to give an equal amount base flavor. The cream and milk can be substituted for coconut milk/cream or any alternative of your choice ( but coconut matches the fat content that will make this stew unctuous). The salmon is a hard one to substitute, maybe use grilled and cubed tofu? Bok-choy could also be good, really any wilted green if you're into that. Mushrooms would also give a nice meaty flavor but that moves away from the whole "fishy" aroma. Might have to make a mushroom stew after this just for my vegan friends.

This stew will stick to the inside of your stomach and fill you, so make sure you have an appetite and like leftovers. It would go great over some rice or grain of your choice if you're warming it up or trying to make it last a bit longer.

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