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Catfish Sweet Potato Chowder

1/2 lb Bacon; diced
1 lg Onion; diced
4 Cloves garlic; minced
2 Shallot; minced
1 Stalk celery; diced
1/2 lb Catfish; large diced
2 c Milk
1 tb Fish sauce
1 Bay leaf
2 oz Butter
1/2 c All purpose flour
1 lg Sweet potato; diced
1 c Heavy cream
2 tb Maple syrup
1 tb Thyme; chopped
1 tb Basil; chopped
1 tb Chives; chopped
1 tb Cracked black pepper
Salt to taste


FOR THE CHOWDER

In a large soup pot saute bacon until bacon becomes crisp. Add in onions, garlic, shallots and celery. Continue cooking until vegetables become translucent.

While the vegetables are cooking, in a large skillet add catfish, fish sauce and bay leaf and enough milk to cover the fish. Reserve remaining milk. Over low heat simmer fish until done. DO NOT OVER COOK. Remove fish from liquid and cool. Reserve liquid and set aside.

Once the vegetables become translucent, add in butter and sprinkle in all purpose flour until it becomes a roux. Cook roux for about three minutes on low to medium heat.

Add in diced potatoes, remaining milk, cream and reserved poaching liquid. Continue cooking until soup starts to thicken and potatoes become tender. Add maple syrup, thyme, basil and chives.

Season with cracked black pepper and salt. Gently stir in poached catfish and serve.


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