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Fish Soup

By August 03, 2015 , , ,

I would have to say my all time favourite soup has to be fish soup and especially a rich velvety bisque. Up till know I have regaled you with my recipes, but sometimes there are recipes from someone else that there is no point in changing as they stand the test of time.

The best fish soup I ever had whilst dining out was by a chef friend of mine Liam Goodwill. I always knew when he was in the kitchen as the soup had the perfect consistency, if he wasn't in the kitchen the soup tasted different or wasn't as thick or rich. Liam is the sous chef at Rushton Hall in Northamptonshire and is a big advocate of nose to tail eating. He was also the only chef that never questioned me when I wanted to take all the shellfish shells home with me if we had fruits de mer at the restaurant he worked at. He knew I'd be making stock with them. He's also a fantastic chef and I do miss his food.

When I was moving country I made sure to get the recipe from him. I asked him if he wouldn't mind if I reproduced his recipe for the site and he said yes. for those of you living in the UK, I suggest you get yourself to Rushton Hall at some point.

The only changes that I've made to the recipe are the amounts, as the original was for restaurant portions as in 10 litres of soup. As good as the soup is, my freezer at the time was not big enough to host that much soup.  I learned the hard way when I first made it and yes, I had 10 litres of soup. It was nice, but it tested my love of the soup and the freezer capacity!

You will need a good half day set aside to make it as you will be making the fish stock to make the soup. It's not a stock you can just leave, if you want a good soup then the stock needs your utmost attention. The end result is worth the time and effort though and your friends (and family) will thank you for it. It's a sad fact that I have been known to say to people that I can't come out as I'm making stock.

Liam's fish soup
500g fish bones including heads
1 onion
1 carrot
2 sticks celery
1/2 leek
500g ripe tomatoes
1 heaped teaspoon tomato purée
Small jar passata
1 red chilli
A few sprigs thyme
1 bay leaf
Juice of 1 orange
100ml red wine
100ml white wine
20 ml pernod
1.5l to 2l water you need just enough to cover the ingredients, you may not need all of it

If you want to make this a richer soup, I sometimes add shellfish shells (lobster, crab, crayfish, prawns, langoustines) to the stock as well as the fish bones, it adds a different element.

Cut up the fish bones and if necessary leave the heads whole. 
Coat in seasoned flour and fry ensuring you get lots of colour. 
Place the bones in a sieve to drain away the fat.
On a medium heat sweat the onion, carrot, celery and leek with no colour, add the tomatoes and cook for about 10 minutes. 
Add the chilli and herbs then add tomato purée and cook for 3 or 4 mins. 
Add all the alcohol and let it reduce by at least half. 
Once reduced add the orange juice and passata
Add the fish bones and add enough water to just cover. 
Turn onto a low heat and let it simmer for at least 4 hours constantly skimming any fat or scum that floats to the top
Once cooked you can just blitz it in a blender and then sieve to give a smoother consistency
If the consistency is still too thin, put it back on the heat to reduce further
Adjust seasoning add a little lemon juice or cream to finish

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