Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Irish Seafood Chowder

Irish Seafood Chowder
One of the best seafood chowders I've ever had was at the restaurant inside the Old Midleton Distillery (a.k.a. Jameson's Irish whiskey) in Midleton, Ireland in County Cork. Perhaps it was all the whiskey we had that day, but this dish had it all: the right amount of creaminess, potatoes and seafood cooked just right. And the Irish brown bread served on the side with real butter made the dish become one of the most memorable to me—and my family. Unfortunately, I couldn't find the actual recipe they use there, but this one is somewhat close. But if you ever want to have the best seafood chowder, then you're just going to have to make a trip to Ireland!

INGREDIENTS (Serves 8)

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped (about 10 oz)
  • 1 celery stick, finely sliced
  • 1/3 cup button mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 large potato, peeled and cut into small dice
  • 3 tomatoes, cut into small dice
  • 1 tablespoon tomato purée
  • A pinch of saffron strands
  • 1/4 cup Pernod (or dry, white wine if you can't find Pernod)
  • 1 quart (32 oz) of fish stock
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 lb mixed fresh fish fillets, such as salmon, cod, swordfish or monkfish, cut into 1 ½" cubes
  • 2 tablespoons fresh flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • ½ cup whipping cream
  • 4 tablespoons finely sliced scallions, to garnish
DIRECTIONS

Melt the butter in a large saucepan and cook the onion, celery and mushrooms over a medium heat, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes until soft. Add the potato, tomatoes, tomato puree, saffron strands, and Pernod. Bring to a boil then add fish stock, and a pinch of salt. Bring to the boil again, and skim off any scum that rises to the surface. Reduce the heat to a simmer, and then cook for 15 to 20 minutes until the vegetables are tender.

Purée half the mixture in a food processor, then return it to the pan. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Bring back to a boil and add the fish and finely chopped parsley. Stir in the cream. When the chowder has returned to the boil, remove from the heat and leave to stand for 5 minutes.

Ladle into eight warm soup bowls and garnish with the scallions, and serve immediately with a side of Irish brown bread.

3 comments:

Samantha said...

Hi! I came across your recipe for this chowder via Google. I made it tonight for a dinner party, and it was a huge success. Thank you!

Anonymous said...

Hi, I write from Sicily (Italy), Last month My husband and I spent on honeymoon in Ireland and we eaten hi chowder...so good! So I have try your reipe and it's the same! Slurp.... but one queston: In which part you put whipping cream? Let me know please, thank you so much... (do you know some recipe for making at home white pudding?)
Annalisa ^_^

luke said...

Hi Armida, Your dish looks delicious. Last time I was in Ireland I had a most tasty seafood chowder in Killarney, Co. Kerry. I just wanted to correct a slight factual error that you made. Midleton is not the same as Jameson. Jameson distilleries are located in Dublin. In fact you were very lucky to have a tour of Midleton. They produce the rarest and most expensive Irish Whiskeys that sells for more than $200 a bottle. Cheers.