Enchiladas with homemade sauce and pico de gallo

Sometimes in Europe, it feels like 1993. Some things just take a really long time to get here, like Mexican food. Tex Mex seems to be hugely popular right now, we even saw a few Tex Mex / Saloon type restaurants in Latvia, but try as they might, these places are missing something…and that something is usually anything remotely spicy.

That said, I thought I’d take a crack at making enchilada sauce. I’m not entirely sure what constitutes an authentic enchilada sauce and my research could not answer this either, but we really enjoyed this and it was a great opportunity to use some dried Mexican peppers we have in the pantry. Pantry space in our European flat = so very precious. Oh, and fun fact, enchilada comes from the verb enchilar, which means to add chilis to something. Yum!

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Cod Chowder with Bacon and Fresh Dill

I lied. This is actually Cod Chowder with Bacon, Fresh Dill and crab and white wine and whatever other delicious bits you can dream up. But that long of a title is somewhat unappealing, no?  This is one of those weeknight dinners that is actually incredibly fast to make (fish cooks in a snap, dontcha know!) and tastes so decadent you’d think it was already the weekend.

This recipe is loosely based on my mother’s famous Cod Chower and is high adaptable for any kind of white fish. You could also add salmon if you like, or some shrimp.

If you can get your hands on fish stock and some fresh dill, use them! Otherwise chicken stock and dried dill will do fine.

Cod Chowder with Bacon and Fresh Dill, and Crab

5 rashers of bacon, cooked and crumbled

1 medium onion, diced

2 medium carrots, diced

2 cups fish stock or chicken stock

2 cups heavy cream

1.5 lbs cod fillets cut into bite size pieces

1 tbsp fresh dill, finely minced – or 1 tsp dried dill

1 small can real crab meat, drained

1/2 cu very dry white wine (optional)

salt and pepper, to taste

First, cook bacon until medium crispy, drain on paper towels and crumble. Reserve the bacon grease for cooking your veggies. Set bacon aside for later. Also it’s okay if you eat a little of the bacon because you are the cook and, quite frankly, you are hungry.

Next, sautée the vegetables you have so nicely diced in the bacon grease. Let them cook over medium heat until beginning to brown, about 6 to 8 minutes.

Measure your stock and add to your pot…

And do the same with your cream. Bring to a gentle simmer and continue simmering for 10 minutes until vegetables are quite tender.

While your pot is simmering away, prepare your fish and mince your dill. Add the fish and dill to your pot, cover, and let simmer about 15 minutes or until fish is cooked through. My pieces are slightly larger than bite-size. What can I say, JD has a big mouth…!

Add your crab and wine, if using, along with crumbled bacon, salt, and pepper to taste. Stir gently to combine and allow to simmer 15 minutes longer so that flavours can combine.

Serve with a glass of chilled white wine and enjoy!