Ice Fishing for Fish Chowder

Ice Fishing is in full swing at the top of Cayuga Lake. Perch, chain pickerel, and panfish are the most common species coming through the ice, but occasionally you can fight a big pike or lure some tasty trout. Check out the NY DEC website for ice fishing and safety tips.  Here is a recipe to try after a successful day on the ice:

4 slices bacon cut into 1 inch (could substitute 2 tablespoons olive oil)
2/3 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped celery
3 medium potatoes, cubed
3 cups fish stock (fish, chicken stock, or vegetable)
1/2 cup chopped carrots or sweet corn kernels
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, minced
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon dill weed or 1 Tbsp. fresh, minced dill
1 tsp. Old Bay-type seasoning
salt and pepper to taste
1 pound boneless, skinless pan fish fillets: perch, sunfish, crappie or pickerel, cut into 1 inch chunks
1 cup half-&-half cream (or evaporated skim milk)

In a 3-quart saucepan, cook the bacon until crisp. Remove bacon, and set aside; discard all but 2 tablespoons of drippings. If using olive oil instead of bacon, just add olive oil to pot and proceed to next step.

Saute onion and celery in drippings until tender. Add potatoes, fish stock, carrots or corn, parsley, lemon juice and seasonings. Simmer until vegetables are tender, about 30 minutes.

Add fish and cooked bacon and simmer for 5 minutes, or until fish flakes with a fork.  Add cream, and heat through, being careful not to boil the chowder once the cream is added.  Ladle into serving bowls and garnish with a sprinkle of smoked paprika or Old Bay seasoning and a sprig of parsley.  Serves about 4 people.

Perch is a very lean source of protein and an excellent source of selenium and B-12, though it is a bit high in cholesterol.This recipe was adapted from Just Seafood Recipes.

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