Sensational Fish Soup

Fish Soup

Whether we like it or not, us kosher cooks are sometimes limited when it comes to certain flavors. The iconic bouillabaisse is a case in point, with its distinctive flavors drawn from the mix of seafood used to make the dish. Whenever I see recipes for any type of fish soup, seafood is a requirement, so…next! It’s disappointing.

Last week, I came across a New York Times recipe for Fish Soup, where the main ingredient was actually just fish. I got very excited and I immediately tested it out. It was everything it promised to be. It had that perfect taste of the sea, with a flavorful tomato base. The dish is light and healthy, but is still excellent comfort food for the winter.

Make this and impress your friends and family. It’s a good one!

You can serve this as a main course or a first course – my quantities here are for a first course. You can prepare the soup ahead of time and heat it up just before you want to cook the fish. Make sure you have some hot crusty fresh bread to go along with it.

Ingredients

1 kg (2 lbs) firm white-fleshed fish fillets, skin removed – I used “mussar yam” (Red Drum), you can also use “locus” (Bass), “denis” (sea bream) or cod

6 large garlic cloves, roughly chopped

6-8 anchovy fillets, soaked in water for 4 minutes, drained and rinsed

Olive oil

1-2 large onions, chopped

3 sticks of celery, diced

medium carrots, diced

Salt

1.2 kg (42 ounces) canned chopped tomatoes (a big can and small can)

1.5 liters water

800g (1.5 lb) small baby potatoes, washed and quartered (they should be small bite sized pieces). 

A bouquet garni of 2 bay leaves, a few sprigs of fresh parsley, a few sprigs of fresh thyme (use half a teaspoon of dried thyme if you don’t have fresh), half a red chilli (deseeded) or a whole one if you want a little more spice in the soup – tied together with string (if you don’t have string kicking around, don’t worry)

Freshly ground pepper

1/3 cup of chopped fresh parsley

How to do it

  1. In a pestle and mortar crush the garlic cloves, ½ a teaspoon salt and the anchovy fillets and mash. If you don’t have a pestle and mortar, crush the garlic in a garlic press, chop the anchovies as finely as possible with a knife and mix together well in a small bowl with the salt. Set aside
  2. Heat olive oil over medium-high heat in a large soup pot and add the onion, celery, carrot and ½ a teaspoon of salt, and saute until the onion is tender, about five minutes.
  3. Add the garlic and anchovy and stir together, cooking for another about 1 minute. Smell that!
  4. Add the tomatoes, bring to the boil and turn down the heat and simmer, stirring every now and again, for about 10 to 15 minutes.
  5. Add the water, potatoes, salt to taste, and the bouquet garni. (If you don’t have string, throw all the components in to the soup and fish them out before you serve.) Bring the soup to a simmer, turn the heat to low, cover partially and let simmer for 30 minutes. Add salt and add pepper to taste. Remove the bouquet garni  when it’s finished simmering.
  6. Season the fish fillets with salt and pepper on both sides, and stir the fish into the hot soup. The soup should not be boiling. Simmer for five to 10 minutes or just until the fish falls apart when poked with a fork. When the fish fillets are cooked, pull the fish apart into smaller pieces.
  7. Remove from the heat, stir in the chopped parsley, and add more seasoning if required.

Serves about 8 as a side dish

Warm up Winter with Sweet and Spicy Ribs

Sweet and Spicy Ribs

I’m now catering for two sons who come home every weekend from the army, and are starved for home cooked food. I am always on the look out for new ways to provide them with the protein they both crave so much after a week of oily chicken and too much starch.

Recently, I decided to tackle ribs. Don’t worry, I’m talking about the beef variety. Coated in a aromatic spice rub and slow cooked in a sticky sweet and spicy sauce, these ribs come out beautifully soft and falling apart. I served them with crisp roast potatoes, and they went down a treat, especially in this wintery weather.

SWEET AND SPICY RIBS

Ingredients

2 kg (4 lbs) beef ribs (with or without the bones)

Spice Rub

1 tablespoon sweet paprika

½ tablespoon smoked paprika

1 teaspoon chili powder

2 teaspoons garlic powder

1 teaspoon chipotle powder (if you don’t have, then increase all your other spices by a little to make up the one teaspoon)

1 teaspoon ground black pepper

½ teaspoon dried thyme

2 teaspoons salt

1½ tablespoons packed brown sugar

Sauce

2 cups ketchup or tomato paste

½ cup silan / golden syrup / molasses

½ cup packed brown sugar

¼ cup of blackberry jam or preserves

1/3 cup vinegar

1 tablespoon of the spice rub

1 tablespoon liquid smoke (optional but recommended)

How to do it

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 200ºC (400ºF)
  2. Cut the ribs into 6 pieces, wash and dry well. Line a baking tray with baking paper.
  3. Mix the spice rub together in a small bowl and set aside 1 tablespoon for use in the sauce. Rub the rest of the spice rub evenly over each piece of meat and place each piece on the baking tray. Bake for 15 minutes on each side.
  4. While the meat is in the oven, add all of the sauce ingredients to a small saucepan and bring to the boil. Lower the heat and simmer for about 15 minutes, stirring now and again. Set about a cup of the sauce aside to serve the meat with.
  5. Spray the bowl of the slow cooker with non-stick spray. Spread some of the sauce on the bottom of the bowl. Add the meat and the then the rest of the sauce, making sure all the meat is covered with sauce.
  6. Cook on high heat for 4-5 hours or on low heat for 7-9 hours. The meat should be tender and falling apart when it is done.

Serves about 8.