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Manhattan Fish Chowder

The other day, I was looking around in the freezer for something to cook up for dinner. I had a bunch of frozen sole fillets (bought cheap at the Chinese market) and I’ve always wanted to try out making some non-cream based fish chowder. As luck would have it, that same day I had watched an episode of Rachel Ray’s illfated but well-meaning $40 a Day and she got a version of tomato based fish chowder at one of the restaurants featured.

So I hopped on Food Network.com and hacked together a Cheap Eats recipe from the one from the restaurant on that show. I had a really hard time getting it to go under three dollars, but I figured I’d post it up anyways. It turned out halfway decent. Oh, by the way, I know there are a lot of fish chowder purists out there that are going to say that this ain’t no Manhattan type chowder. You’d be right. I’m chowder-dumb, really. All I know is that there is a tomato based kind and a cream based kind. I made the tomato based kind and for lack of a descriptive title called it Manhattan Fish Chowder:

Manhattan Fish Chowder

Fish, such as sole (1 lb at $1.50/lb) — $1.50
Butter (1 tbsp of $1.00 4 oz stick) — $0.13
1/2 yellow onion, chopped — $0.30
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped — $0.25
1 whole carrot, chopped — $0.10
2 stalks celery, chopped — $0.10
1 large potato, cubed – $0.15
Parsley (1/4 cup chopped from $0.69 bunch) — $0.06
Petite diced tomatoes (1 can) — $0.50
Tomato paste – (2 tbsp of $0.30 4 oz can) — $0.07
1 teaspoon hot sauce — $0.05
Crushed red pepper flakes — $0.05
Worcestershire sauce (1/2 tsp of $3.00 bottle) — $0.03
Vodka (2 tbsp of $8.99 1.75 L bottle) — $0.25
1 can chicken stock — $0.50
2 cups water — negligible
Salt / pepper — negligible

Total: $4.04

If fish is frozen, defrost in microwave in short 1 minute intervals, turning fish fillets frequently. Be careful not to cook the fish on accident…

In a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the yellow onion, celery, and chili pepper and saute until tender about 3 minutes. Add the tomato paste and cook for another minute. Add carrot, red pepper, potato, crushed red pepper flakes, salt and pepper and cook for 2 minutes. Turn up heat to high and add the diced tomatoes, chicken stock, water, hot sauce, tomatoes, Worcestershire sauce and vodka. Simmer over medium heat for 1 hour. Add the sole and stir until the fish is coated and distributed in the chowder. Cook until just done, about 5 minutes. Serve in bowls and sprinkle parsley on top of each.


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