Wednesday, January 4, 2012

My take on a classic - bouillabaise

I have to admit, the first couple of days this week I ate really badly. Pizza, chicken fried steak, and lots of wine. I'm not sure the chicken fried steak with cream gravy was worth the 18 WW points, but man, it tasted great. I allowed my self a couple of days to indulge in comfort food because I'm really missing The Aussie. Last night, however, I took ahold of the reins and made an amazing (and amazingly large) batch of bouillabaise. If you aren't familiar with this soup (like friend who thought I said "boullion base"), it's a French fish and shellfish stew that tastes like healthy comfort in a bowl. This made 14 cups, and in WW's recipe builder, it totalled 3 points for 14 servings or 4 points for 12 servings.


1 T oil (can be olive, grapeseed, canola...)
4 cups of leeks, white and light green parts only, thinly sliced (I used 1 bunch of 3)
4 cloves of garlic, crushed
2 fennel bulbs, thinly sliced or chopped
1 bottle (8 oz) clam juice
3 cups of chicken stock (fish stock if you have would be great)
1 cup water
2 cans diced tomatoes
1/2 c dry white wine (I used Fish Eye pinot grigio)
1/2 t saffron threads (this really makes the flavor, so please don't omit)
1/4 t cayenne pepper
2 medium red potatoes, diced
3/4 pound cod or halibut (I used cod), cut in to large bite-sized chunks
1 1/4 pounds sea scallops (the large ones)
2-6.5 ounce cans of chopped clams with their juice
2.5 ounces of shrimp (it's what I had...)

Note: thinly slice the leeks and then wash them very, very well. They are notoriusly dirt, so you want to make sure you get all of the grit out.

In a large dutch oven or soup pot, heat over medium high heat for a minute. Add the oil, then the leeks, stiring for a minute, then add the garlic. Cook until the leeks are soft, at least 5 minutes. Stir in the fennel and cook for 2-3 minutes more. Add in the clam juice, stock, water, diced tomatoes, white wine, thyme, saffron and cayenne. (Some recipes call for orange zest, but I omitted). Bring to a light boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 10 minutes.

Add the diced potatoes and cook until they are a little soft. This may take 15 minutes, depending on the size of the dice. Add in the fish, scallops and shrimp, and simmer until the seafood is opaque and cooked through, 8-10 minutes. Traditionally, you can also use more shellfish, such as oysters and mussels in your bouillabaise. Serve with a nice slice of hearty bread and a glass of wine. Perfect for a chilly night.

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