Smoked Trout and Sweet Potato Cheddar Chowder
Josh did not have a lot of luck catching sturgeon this season. For the past few months he would go out to the river with high hopes of bringing home some for dinner, but time after time he came back disappointed and empty-handed. Last week, however, he switched his attention to trout and his luck (and ours) changed completely. He decided to smoke his cooler full of trout after a simple brown-sugar and salt brine bath. It was my job to whip together a tasty dinner. Since Josh never got to taste "Josh Steele's Slammin' Salmon Chowder," I figured a new chowder recipe was the perfect destiny for all of that sweet and smoky fish.
- 3 leeks, trimmed, rinsed and chopped (white and light green parts only)
- 4 stalks of celery, diced
- 2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed into 1" pieces
- 1 green bell pepper, diced
- 1 red jalapeno pepper, seeded and diced
- 2 Tbsp. olive oil
- 2 Tbsp. butter
- 2 bay leaves
- 1/4 c. dry sherry
- 1 qt. vegetable broth
- salt and pepper
- 1-2 Tbsp. Sriracha or other hot sauce
- 5 c. heavy cream
- 1 bunch parsley trimmed and chopped
- 2 c. grated sharp white cheddar cheese
- 2-3 c. flaked smoked trout or salmon
Melt butter with olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add leeks and cook until softened, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes. Add celery, bell pepper, sherry, and jalapeno pepper and cook until they begin to soften, about 4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add vegetable broth, sweet potato, bay leaves, and hot sauce. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer, partially covered for about 20 minutes until potatoes are cooked.
Uncover soup, remove bay leaves and add cream, grated cheese, parsley, and smoked trout. Stir over medium-low heat until cheese is melted and the chowder is heated through. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat and serve with bread for dipping!