Snapper and Bacon Chaudrée – Singapore

I was itching to go back into the kitchen (yes, I am taking ownership of that phrase as a woman, therefore robbing chauvinists of the right to insult me with it 😛 ) to make this old French recipe that I discovered in one of my cookbooks from TOTT: Secret Recipes from Chef’s Wives. 

This Snapper and Bacon Chaudrée (French for chowder) is quite time consuming to prepare, and a little expensive as there is no such thing as a 2 euro bottle of wine in SIN City. Anyway, I’ve taken the liberty to type out the recipe here but I’ve added little notes for substitutions/change in methods.

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The recipe calls for 

  • 150g bacon, chopped
  • Olive oil
  • 1kg snapper fillet, thickly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 8-10 fresh bay leaves (I used dried bay leaves)
  • 8-10 pearl onions (I left this out entirely as I couldn’t find any!)
  • 8 small potatoes, halved
  • 1 zucchini, cut into chunks (I substituted this with Japanese telegraph cucumbers)
  • 4 baby leeks, sliced lengthwise (I couldn’t find any, so I used big leeks and chopped them)
  • 1 bottle Sauvignon Blanc (I used the cheapest Chilean wine I could find)
  • 200ml fish stock
  • Pepper and salt to taste
  • 200ml creme fraiche

1) Toss the bacon in the casserole and heat until fragrant. Remove bacon and set aside.

2) Add olive oil and toss the fillets in the same casserole until lightly browned on all sides. Set aside. 

3) Place crushed garlic and bay leaves and fry until fragrant before adding the pearl onions. 

4) Add potato, zucchini and leeks into the casserole (I would suggest boiling the potatoes first to speed up the cooking process, raw potatoes will not cook in 10 mins on simmer). Pour in the wine. Bring to a boil and lower to a simmer for 10 minutes until the ingredients have softened.

5) Add the fish stock so the liquid covers the contents in the pot. Bring to a boil then cover. Reduce the heat. Cook over medium heat for 5 to 8 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

6) Uncover and add in the fish and bacon. Whisk in creme fraiche and cook over high heat for 3 mins.

Serve with a crusty baguette. 

Anyway, as you can see my dish turned out pretty well! However I found the creme fraiche a little too sour and thus added more black pepper to the pot to balance the taste out. My guests found the dish perfectly delightful with baguettes and called it the “perfect comfort food”.

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Well, I’m glad. Probably will make this again when I move to a country with cheaper alcohol. 😛

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