"The best times you are going to have in life are at the dinner table and in bed." Old Italian saying. So relax, and enjoy the simple things!

Friday, February 27, 2015

Slow Cooker Riviera Fish Soup #French Fridays with Dorie

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Slow Cooker Riviera Fish Soup: simplelivingeating.com


What is that flavor? There is just something unusual, a background taste that makes Riviera Fish soup just a little different from most chowders... it is Pernod.


When absinthe became illegal in France, it was blamed for driving some great creative minds crazy, Pernod who was a distributor, created pastis.

There is also a belief that a monk created pastis and Pernod popularized it. I wouldn't be surprised if a monk developed the drink. Religious persons are credited with many wonderful alcoholic beverages from Dom Perignon to Chartreuse. 


Slow Cooker Riviera Fish Soup: simplelivingeating.com


I always associate liquor with religion. When I was growing up I knew when the priests from our parish were coming over to our house. It was the only time my parents would take everything out of the liquor cabinet. When I was a teenager I once asked my mother why priests drink so much? She gave me a wry looked and said, “What the heck else are they going to do?"

Slow Cooker Riviera Fish Soup: simplelivingeating.com

It seems that all Mediterranean countries have a anise flavored liquor. Ouzo in Greece. Raki in Turkey, Lebanon Arak...etc. As a young adult at family get togethers I would often make the mistake of adding milk to my coffee and having it curdle. The old timers would shake their head and say, "Why did you put milk in it? It's Italian coffee, meaning it is spiked with Anisette. Some of my relatives liked their Anisette or Sambucca the opposite way: straight up with 3 coffee beans floating in it… sometimes flaming! Watch out, late at night when the priests have been tying one on.... I'm surprised the curtains never caught fire!

Slow Cooker Riviera Fish Soup: simplelivingeating.com

Off track...soup, not sauced... is the topic. Of course I had to simplify this recipe, because that's what I do! I added the Pernod at the end... just one shot because my husband is not a big fan of the stuff, though he did like it in the soup. My kids and myself enjoyed this soup too... put fish in anything and we are happy. My daughter suggested mussels next time and I agree mussels would be a terrific addition to this dish. 


Slow Cooker Riviera Fish Soup

by Diane Balch inspired by Dorie Greenspan's Riviera Fish Soup from "Around my French Table."
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 4 to 6 hours low
Keywords: slow-cooker soup/stew entree fish French

Ingredients (6 to 8)
  • 1.5 pounds of Frozen Cold Water Fish such as: Cod, Red Snapper, Haddock, Monkfish cut into 2 inch pieces (Trader Joes sells frozen piece of Cod)
  • 1/4 cup of extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves minced and salted
  • 3 pinches of saffron
  • 1 teaspoon of dried Thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon of Piment d' Espelette or red cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 tablespoon of tomato paste
  • 2 15 ounce cans of fish stock
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 28 ounce of diced tomatoes
  • 1 4 inch strip of an orange zest
  • 1 large onion chopped
  • 2 potatoes peeled and cut into about 1/2 inch cubes
  • 3 carrots chopped
  • 1 small fennel bulb top removed chopped
  • 1/4 cup of fresh chopped parsley
  • 1 to 3 tablespoons of pastis (Pernod or Ricard)
  • garnish: toasted bagette with rouille (Boar's Head Savory Remoulade is a good substitute)
Instructions
1) Whisk together: olive oil, garlic, saffron, salt and pepper, thyme, piment d' espelette, tomato paste.
2) Whisk seasoning mixture with fish stock. Stir in tomatoes, orange zest and bay leaf. Set aside.
3) Layer in a large crockpot: potatoes, onions, carrots, fennel. Top the vegetables with the frozen fish and parsley on top.
4) Pour fish stock seasoning mixture over fish. Cook on low for 4 to 6 hours or until potatoes are tender. Make sure the potatoes are cut very small or they won't cook. If you can start the soup on high for an hour it will ensure that the potatoes get soft or you can microwave the potatoes on high for 3 minutes before putting them in the slow cooker. 
5) Just before serving put 1 tablespoon of pastis in soup stir. Decide if this is enough of this seasoning, if not add more. Check salt and pepper.
Garnish: toasted bagette pieces and rouille.
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Note: As a member of French Friday's with Dorie I am not allowed to print the recipe. I invite you to take a look at this wonderful cookbook "Around My French Table" if you are interested in this or any other recipe I review. 

26 comments:

  1. Looks great, Diane! I really enjoyed the pastis in the soup, too. I could see mussels working quite well as a mod! As for the drinking, well, I've noticed that as well: monks have really created some lovely liquors. Guess they were quite bored, and who can blame them? :)

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    1. yes, who can blame them...we are all the better for their little inventions.

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  2. Interesting, I didn't know the background for pastis. Though I'm told that the monk who "discovered" champagne has been unfairly given credit for what was a naturaly occuring process. For years it was actually an undesired process because it caused the wine to explode!

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    1. I never heard that about champagne... really interesting.

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  3. Too funny! My childhood parish celebrated many church holidays in their basement with a booze fest! And I'm certain the wine was flowing when we had our priests over for dinner, too. Great adaptation with the slow cooker. Bill wasn't going to touch any soup with fish and fennel :)

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    1. Ah the evil duo fish and fennel. Funny that we all have boozy church memories.

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  4. I am totally on-board with your version! It looks delicious. I grew up in Italy, so it was Sambuca for us, Have a lovely weekend!

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    1. Thanks Susan... I wonder whatever made them think of putting Sambucca in coffee?

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  5. Glad that you left this one chunky. Just for the record, Congregationalists didn't drink. Oh, my Dad would come home from work and attempt to have a Bourbon and Water but my Mother would usually slap the dinner on the table before he managed his first sip. And, so it went. Enjoyed your Posts, as always, and am glad your family enjoyed the Soup.

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    1. Of course congregationalist don't drink they are descendants of the Puritans. My husband's family are descendants of the Puritans but some how they became Presbyterians who can out drink any Catholic priest.

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  6. We also had priests visit for dinner, and honestly I don’t remember much about their drinking…but alcohol, was always served. Loved your version of this dish! Your kids have a very adult palate…love that they appreciate a good meal! I never have to worry about Bill eating a fish dish either…he loves his fish! The pureed version was also quite good! Enjoy your weekend, Diane! Stay warm!!

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    1. It's great to be a fish loving family but how could we not I'm from the shore in CT and my husband is from Miami.

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  7. Next time I will try your adaptation! I'm always looking for more ways to use my slow cooker, but have never tried using it for fish.

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    1. I find as long as the fish is frozen and you put it on top of vegetables it cooks fine.

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  8. I should have known you'd make this in the slow cooker! I wish I hadn't pureed it. I thought I was making something more like your version. Next time I'll make it more like that. Glad your family liked it, though not surprised. You always make the effort to tailor the recipes to your family's tastes, so success is expected!

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    1. Thanks Betsy,
      My kids are pretty open minded but they are kids and so I do have to change recipes to fit their tastes and our lifestyle, but it great we are all getting exposed to so many tastes that we never would have tried if I wasn't part of this group.

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  9. Glad you enjoyed this soup. I used ouzo instead of pastis!

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    1. I don't detect much difference in the taste of these anise liquors.

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  10. Team chunky wins again- great picture ! If my sons were home we may have had different results but since I am 50% of the taste testers now and don't particularly care for fish....this recipe simply had an uphill battle. I did prefer it before pureed but it is always an adventure to follow Dorie's well thought out and intended game plan. Good call on the slow cooker.

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    1. It seems that many folks prefer the chunky. It sounds to me that the original soup was intended to make with with scraps of vegetables and fish that you wouldn't normally eat. Then it would make sense, but we weren't doing this as compost exercise, so it was wasteful to me to throw out the fish and vegetables.

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  11. Your whole soup looks wonderful. I think it was probably enjoyed more than the pureed version.

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  12. Monks really did make a lot of liqueurs - one of my favourites is Benedictine :-) Love your Slow Cooker Riviera Fish Soup, Diane - the Pastis would really add lots of lovely flavour. Thank you for sharing it with us at the Hearth and Soul hop.

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  13. Hi Diane,
    I love your mother's response to your question. This looks like such a good soup, we love the anise flavor. I would like to try this since I can use frozen fish, we don't get fresh that often, although I might try it with catfish or perch. I say you al are still having winter, we are have a slow cold rain here today, but grateful for the rain to fill up our lake. Thanks so much for sharing this awesome recipe with Full Plate Thursday.
    Hope you have a fantastic weekend and come back soon!
    Miz Helen

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    1. We are actually above freezing today...yeah! Yes, perch and catfish would work well. I try to make recipes with frozen fish because I know a lot of parts of the country you can only get it frozen. Enjoy.

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  14. Delicious! Thank you so much for linking up at Tasty Tuesday! Your recipe has been pinned to the Tasty Tuesday Pinterest board! Please join us again this week!

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