Caldillo de Congrio con Vino Blanco, or, Fisherman's Soup with Fresh Tomatoes and White Wine

A Chilean seafood soup, or chowder

Yield: 4 to 6 servings

The authentic version of this fish chowder calls specifically for congrio, or El congrio dorado, an eel-like fish much prized in Chile, but unavailable in most other parts of the world. Chilean sea bass, monkfish, red snapper, halibut, John Dory, grouper, tilefish or other firm, white-fleshed fish make an acceptable substitute.

  1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion, and saute until softened but not browned, 4 minutes.
  2. Add the garlic, paprika, bell pepper, and carrot; cook, stirring occasionally, 2 minutes more.
  3. Add the tomatoes, broth, wine, bay leaf, and parsley sprigs. Season with salt and black pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer 20 minutes. (The soup can be prepared in advance up to this point).
  4. Add the fish, shellfish, and potatoes. Simmer over low heat until the fish has changed from translucent to opaque and the shellfish has opened, 10 or 15 minutes.
  5. In a small bowl, whisk the cream with the egg yolk, and gradually ladle some of the hot soup into the egg mixture before adding the egg mixture to the soup. This step prevents the egg and cream from curdling. For the same reason, don't let the soup boil.
  6. Serve at once, sprinkled with parsley.
1Peeling the tomatoes is optional. Authentic Chilean cookery tends to call for the peeling of many fruits and vegetables, due in large part to a history of cholera in the region, rather than for reasons of taste or aesthetics.
Source: Ruth Van Waerebeek-Gonzalez. The Chilean Kitchen, 1999.

Also notice that Pablo Neruda (a Chilean poet, winner of the Nobel Prize on Literature, 1971) did a great poem to this great seafood soup: Oda al Caldillo de Congrio.

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