Did you know that today is Ukrainian Christmas? Right now I should be slaving over my 12 meatless dishes.... it's weird being married to someone who doesn't like saurkraut, holubki, borscht and rarely likes a varenyky (aka perogy)! Anyways, I honoured the traditions last night secretly by serving up a spicy fish soup - eating fish is a religious reference and breaks up all the wheat and bread that are normally served at this feast!! The soup I made up is nice and light, yet filling - you can control the "heat" by how many chilis you put into the soup.
Spicy Fish Soup
1 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced then chopped
1 shallot, thinly sliced
2 dried red chili peppers - one chopped and one whole
1 tsp anchovie paste
1 medium sized fennel bulb, white part thinly sliced; reserve the green fronds for garnishing soup
1 540ml can flavoured diced tomatoes (I used a garlic and olive oil flavor)
4 cups chicken, fish or vegetable stock (depending on how hard-core you are observing traditions - I used chicken lol)
2 good sized cod filets (remember that time I used the frozen cod - that's what I used here) cut into 1 inch cubes
1/2 pound raw shrimp
salt & pepper
In a large stock pot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic and chili and saute until fragrant, about a minute or so - remember - don't BURN IT! Add shallot and continue cooking until softened - another couple minutes. Add the anchovie paste and continue cooking till it disappears.
Add the fennel and cook about 3-4 minutes, until it's softened - make sure to stir it lots so it doesn't stick to the bottom of the pot.
Add your can of tomatoes and stock - bring to a low simmer and let it cook for about 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper - at this point take a taste and decide if it's spicy enough or too spicy - if too spicy, take out that whole pepper.
Gently fold in the fish and let it cook through - about 5 or 6 minutes.
Serve garnished with chopped fennel fronds and you have one of your delicious Ukrainian Christmas dishes!!
Z RIZDVOM HRYSTOVYM