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Cooking with Chef Hermann: Whitefish, Leek and Celery Chowder with White Beans

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Whitefish, Leek and Celery Chowder with White Beans


  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 2 large leeks, halved lengthwise and cut into 1-inch lengths
  • 4 celery ribs, cut into 
 1/2 -inch pieces, 
plus leaves for garnish
  • 1 white onion, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • Kosher salt
  • Pepper
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • Three 8-ounce bottles 
clam juice
  • 3 cups chicken stock or low-sodium broth
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 pound skinless whitefish fillets, such as hake or cod, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1/2 pound smoked whitefish, flaked
  • One 15-ounce can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
  • Snipped chives, for garnish
  • Crusty bread, for serving


  1. In a large saucepan, heat the 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the leeks, celery, onion, garlic and a generous pinch of 
salt. Cook over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, 
until the vegetables are just softened but not browned, about 10 minutes. Stir in the flour and cook for 1 minute. Add the clam juice, stock, cream and bay leaf and bring just to a boil. Simmer over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender and the chowder is slightly thickened, 
about 7 minutes.
  2. Stir the fresh and smoked fish and the beans into 
the soup and simmer over moderately low heat until the fresh fish is just cooked through, 5 to 7 minutes. Discard the bay leaf and season the chowder with salt and 
pepper. Ladle the chowder into bowls and garnish with celery leaves, chives, pepper and 
a drizzle of olive oil. Serve with crusty bread.