Thursday, 8 July 2010

Frugal fail - a fish soup

This came about as I pondered how to stretch a tin of lobster bisque (aldi) I had in the cupboard to make it more substantial and for preference, into at least a couple of meals. I wanted to make a £1 tin of soup (£1 really is too much for a tin of soup right?) earn it's keep, perhaps use up some odds and ends in the meantime but definitely not purchase anything new for it. Thing is I realised after making the soup, and incidentally whilst being quite smug that I'd bought nothing especially to go in it but had cleared things from the freezer etc, that the ingredients list isn't really that frugal, it just seems that way if you have all of it in the house already like me. Therefore this is another *'idiosyncratic Ruth recipe' that was made up as I went along with what was to hand.

A fish soup
Butter - knob
Olive oil - little splosh
Black Pepper - freshly ground
5 Spring onions - given to me by a good friend from their allotment and used here in lieu of onion
2 pints veg stock
650g ish mixed fish (like pie mix - mine had white fish, salmon and tuna chunks)
3-4 avg size potatoes - grated
Pinch tarragon
Pinch saffron
Tin lobster bisque
White wine - splosh (If forced to guess it was 4-5 tbs)

Melt the butter and the oil. Chop the spring onions finely adding as much of the green as liked (or use an onion if you have one to hand). Fry gently until soft seasoning with a good few grinds of black pepper. Add the stock and the grated potato and bring to a gentle boil to parcook the potato.
Stir in the tarragon, saffron and tin of lobster bisque.
Then add the fish mix. Cook gently until the fish is cooked through - you do not want to boil harshly or your fish will be destroyed and if like me you have chunks of tuna steak these will be tough and 'orrible.
Once fish is cooked flake with a fork to break up or 'mash' lightly. You still want chunks of identifiable variety of fish.
Stir in the white wine.
Cover, remove from the heat and let the flavours develop. Enjoy the next day.

A few words on the non-frugality of this recipe - fish pie mix is great if you have a proper fishmongers nearby but if you're buying it in little trays from Scumerfields or S'burys etc forget it. The chunks are, well, not chunks but pathetic wee scraps and the price is ridiculous. Yet people actually buy it??! Mental! Anyway - even if buying it from a ^proper fishmongers like mine, 650g is a fairly hefty amount to put in a soup I think. I bought the mix a while back and it has been in the freezer since. Sadly not in a couple of sensible sized amounts - oh no - but as one big frozen amorphous mass so I really had to use the whole lot at once. Either that or take an electric saw to it... ^Fishes in Exeter is absolutely fab. Friendly, very knowledgeable, happy to offer advice, recommendations or suggest a cooking technique, I cannot praise them enough. Top chaps - go and see them now and buy some of the chilli prawns with fresh coriander or the hot oak smoked salmon whilst you're at it and tell me I'm wrong.
Lobster bisque - not a frugal tin of soup hence the original aim of this recipe. It just happened to be in the cupboard.
Saffron - notoriously not a frugal item but ditto the 'happened to be in the cupboard' from above. Add nearer the end next time though as apparently that's better for it's flavour.

The soup was very tasty the next day - I was right to leave it be to develop as it was a little disapointing on immediate tasting after the cooking was finished.
It'd stand the addition of a splosh of cream, soured cream or creme fraiche if you had that about. Or it could be made more of a winter warmer with a gentle edge of smoked paprika and a tiny hint of cayenne.
This amount made a good 8 portions - so it's a definite win in the 'stretching a tin of lobster bisque' stakes if *not particularly reproduceable as a specific recipe. Unless you shop exactly like me. Which would be frankly scary. ;-)
*: one equals the other. Go back and check both the asterix again. You're with me now? :-D

1 comment:

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