Fish and Shellfish Options
A combination of flaky, tender North Atlantic haddock, smoked cod and shrimp are featured in this robust seafood dish. In Ireland, where the shrimp are better known as prawns, any combination of fresh local fish, shellfish or mollusks are considered for a traditional seafood chowder. This may include haddock, cod, hake, pollack, salmon, mussels, clams and shrimp. The seafood is simmered in a creamy broth with bacon and some tender vegetables. Smoked haddock or cod is often added to impart a rich smoky flavour.
Popular Pub Fare
When I last had seafood chowder at Ireland’s oldest pub, The Brazen Head, it was made with a delicious combination of fresh cod, salmon and smoked cod. They also serve it with some fresh crusty brown bread so that you can soak up every last drop in the bowl. However, many Irish pubs will offer the traditional soda bread with chowder or stew. My preference of beverage with this meal is a nice smooth frothy Kilkenny Irish cream ale. Check out this list to help you choose an Irish beer most suited to your palette. Outside of Ireland, you’re likely to find such popular Irish beers as Guinness, Kilkenny, Harps or Smithwick’s.
Irish Seafood Chowder
- 3 slices of bacon chopped up
- 1 onion finely chopped
- 1 rib celery finely chopped
- 1 carrot finely chopped
- 2 tbsp butter
- 2 medium potatoes peeled and diced into bite-size pieces
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp fresh pepper
- 2 cups fish stock or vegetable broth
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tsp thyme
- 1 medium potatoes peeled and quartered
- 1½ cups milk
- 8 oz any combination of haddock, cod or salmon cut into bite size pieces
- 4 oz medium sized shrimp
- 2 oz smoked cod or smoked haddock
- ½ cup heavy cream
- 1 cup of chopped mushroom
- 1 tbsp fresh parsley finely chopped
- 1 tsp paprika
- In a Dutch oven, or large pot with a heavy bottom, cook the bacon until the fat has rendered
- Add the onion, celery and carrot and cook until transparent
- Stir in the diced potatoes and 1 tbsp butter, salt and pepper and cook for about 3 minutes, stirring frequently
- Add the stock, and thyme and bay leaf and bring to a boil, reduce to medium and cook about 12 to 15 minutes or until the potatoes are tender.
- Meanwhile, in another pot, boil the remaining potatoes in a little water until tender.
- When those separate potatoes are done, drain and mash with the remaining butter.
- Add the milk to the mashed potatoes and blend until consistent. Best results are obtained with a mixer or submersible blender.
- Submerse the white fish, shrimp and mushrooms in the broth pot. Simmer covered for about 4 minutes or until ingredients are cooked. The shrimp should be opaque and the fish flakey.
- Add the potato milk mixture and parsley to the broth pot, stir and heat until simmering.
- Remove from heat and serve. Garnish with paprika.
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