St. Patrick’s Day Recipes: Potato & Leek Soup with Cod Goujons

I love St. Patrick’s Day…not for the green beer, silly leprechaun costumes, or outrageous parades, but for the food. However, eating well on St. Patrick’s Day doesn’t have to be heaping plates of corned beef & cabbage. No, real Irish food is much more rustic and simple. Yes, it was the Irish who popularized corned beef & cabbage, and I love it too, but there is so much more to Irish cooking. Case in point…last night, after a day of cleaning and shopping and laundry and prepping for the week, all I wanted was the rustic, Irish comfort food I ate on our last trip to Kilkenney…potato & leek soup and cod goujons.

And, why potato & LEEK soup?

Leeks may look like onions on steroids, but they have a milder, more delicate onion flavor that onions.  Leeks are a bit more expensive; I paid $3 for a bundle of three.  However, the more refined onion flavor is perfect for creamy soups. And, they don’t make me cry when I chop them, so it’s a win-win!

Potato & Leek Soup

Ingredients
3 large Russet (or other starchy white potato)-peeled & diced into 1/2″ cubes
2 leeks
2 garlic cloves-smashed
2 c. milk
2 c. half & half
3 TBSP butter-NOT margarine
Salt & Pepper to taste
**milk and half & half can be substituted with heavy cream for a more velvety texture…and a lot more calories**

Directions
Remove the root end of each leek, and cut off all but 1-2 inches of the green tops.  The green is edible, but they can get a bit tough, so only use 1-2 inches that are closest to the white.  Then, cut each leek in half lengthwise and run under cold water to remove any sand that hides between the layers. Once rinsed and clean, slice leeks in small half-rounds.

In a 3-5 qt. sauce pan or dutch oven, combine potatoes, leeks, garlic, milk, and butter.  If the milk does not cover the potatoes, add just enough more milk until potatoes are covered. Bring to a boil over medium-low heat, stirring frequently.  As liquid begins to bubble, reduce heat and allow to simmer until potatoes are very tender.

Using a stick (immersion) blender, puree soup until your desired consistency.  When it’s just me, I also add a bit more milk.  I like my soup a little thinner.  Add salt & pepper to taste, and serve warm!
**If you don’t have a stick blender, ladle soup into a blender and puree in small batches.  However, be careful; it is HOT!**

So, what is a “Goujon”?

A “goujon” is a thin strip of food, usually chicken or fish. Simply put, cod goujons would be fish fingers…fish tenders…fancy fish sticks!  However, we’re not talking the frozen fish sticks with icky coatings and more breading than fish.  No, real fish goujons are thick, flaky, thinly breaded (or battered), and lightly fried so that the fish is the star and the breading is a light coat to keep it warm.

Cod Goujons with Dijon Tartar Sauce

Ingredients
1 lb. cod filets (or any other firm white fish)
1 c. milk (I prefer buttermilk)
1 1/2 c. flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
vegetable oil for frying

1/2 c. mayonnaise
1 dill pickle spear-minced
1 TBSP Dijon mustard
juice from half lemon
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder

Directions
Cut fish into 1×3-4″ strips to make goujons.  Place them in a shallow dish of milk (or buttermilk) for 3-5 minutes.  In a second shallow pan, combine flour and seasonings.  Remove goujons from milk and dredge in flour mixture, coating each piece completely.

I prefer to pan fry versus deep fry fish, so that I can prevent pieces from sticking together, so heat 1-2 inches of vegetable oil in a skillet until approximately 350 degrees.  To test to see if your oil is ready, sprinkle a little flour into the oil.  If it begins to sizzle, it’s ready for frying.  Place floured fish into hot oil and fry until golden brown, turning once the first side begins to brown.  You may need to turn down the burner to medium to prevent the oil from getting too hot.

Sprinkle fish with salt as soon as it comes from the oil.

For the tartar sauce, combine mayonnaise, minced pickle, Dijon, lemon juice, and seasonings in a small bowl.  Serve on the side for dipping!

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