I’VE recently been over to Ireland again and enjoyed some amazing seafood including a wonderful Irish chowder which I recreated at the restaurant as soon as I got home. I couldn’t resist sharing it with you this week!
There are several different variations of chowder but for me, this cream based version, which is similar to the famous New England clam chowder, is the best.
Chowder is also a popular Irish dish and I always treat myself to a some when I’m visiting the Emerald Isle.
Chowder is comfort food at its most delicious and a real autumnal treat. Hearty and warming, there’s nothing quite like a steaming bowlful served with a chunk of crusty soda bread.
It’s also packed full of great flavour and textures so be sure to use only fresh, quality fish for the best result.
Smoked haddock is the essential ingredient of this dish but I like to use a couple of different types of white fish and a few mussels too - but you can add whatever you like really. Salmon works well and clams are also great, especially if you’re looking to recreate the US version. If you’re feeling adventurous, you could even have a go at making your own soda bread.
A few things to note when making this dish: It’s important not to let the bacon or onions brown – chowder should have a creamy, almost translucent finish. The bacon gives the dish a lovely saltiness and enhances the smoky flavour so you won’t need to add any additional salt.
Also, be sure to buy natural smoked haddock and not the bright yellow dyed variety. Ask your fishmonger if you’re unsure.
Ingredients (serves 3-4)
2 rashers of streaky bacon, diced
3 medium potatoes, diced into small chunks
5 spring onions, sliced
1 small white onion, diced
120g natural smoked haddock
75g cod or similar white fish
100g mussels (in the shell), washed and de-bearded
1 tbsp. flour
250ml double cream
500ml chicken or fish stock
A handful of flat leaf parsley to garnish
In a large, heavy bottomed pan heat a little vegetable oil and gently fry the bacon for a few minutes to release the flavour but taking care not to let it brown.
Add the diced potatoes and onions and cook for a few minutes over a medium heat, again being careful not to let the onions brown.
Add the butter and flour and stir everything together before adding the stock.
Increase the heat slightly and bring to a simmer.
Allow to cook for five minutes to allow the potatoes to soften.
Next add the haddock, followed by the other white fish and finally the mussels.
Bring back to a simmer and once the mussels start to open add the double cream and the black pepper.
Reduce the heat and cook for a further five minutes.
Serve immediately and finish with a final twist of black pepper and some fresh parsley.