Bahamian Fish Chowder
- 1 Scotch Bonnet chile, (or 2 serrano or jalapeno chiles), seeded and finely minced
- 1 green onion
- 2 1/4 teaspoons salt
- 2 pounds raw lobster tails (small ones), split down the middle lengthwise
- 1/3 cup fresh lime juice
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 onion, thinly sliced
- 1/2 green bell pepper, thinly sliced
- 1/2 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 cup peeled, seeded and diced tomatoes
- 1 large baking potato, peeled and diced
- 3 cups shrimp stock or low sodium canned chicken broth (or substitute water)
- 3/4 cup coconut milk
- 1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme leaves
- 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Combine the Scotch bonnet chile, green onion, and 1 teaspoon of the salt in a mortar and pestle or in the bowl of a food processor and process to a paste. Spread the mixture over the lobster meat and drizzle with the lime juice. Refrigerate while you prepare the stew.
In a Dutch oven, heat the oil and, when hot, whisk in the flour. Cook, stirring constantly, until a light blond roux is formed, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the onion and bell peppers and cook until vegetables are softened, about 4 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste, diced tomatoes, potato, stock, coconut milk, brown sugar, thyme, remaining 1 1/4 teaspoons salt and pepper and bring to a low boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until sauce is thickened and flavorful and potatoes are very tender, about 30 minutes. Remove the lobster from the marinade and reserve 2 tablespoons. (Discard the remaining marinade.) Add the lobster and the reserved 2 tablespoons marinade to the stew and cook, stirring gently as to not break up the fillets, until the fish is just cooked through, about 7 to 8 minutes. Serve immediately.
This dish is traditionally served over grits with Johnnycakes.