We Love Cooking! + thyme

:: Irish Seafood Chowder

Of all the dishes we prepared for Foodstock, I am pretty certain that the Irish Seafood Chowder was the biggest success. I am told that the French absolutely love their seafood which is probably why! The chowder we made had a great selection of fish, haddock, cod, smoked fish, and prawns which the amazing chefs at the Chalet meticulously prepared for us. I have to admit that cooking on such a large scale can be quite daunting in terms of producing a similar end product to that of a smaller quantity, but that said between the whole team we served up some damn tasty chowder!

For about an hour on the Wednesday night I did feel like I was in a soup kitchen and there was a high chance of some sort of repetitive strain injury after ladling the chowder 350 times! Luckily we had the lovely ladies from Bord Bia to help us out, one of whom was out on her first assignment with them, though I’m pretty sure she is well inducted after Foodstock.

Irish Seafood Chowder
This is the kind of soup that if you put a lot of love and time in you will get the best results. The key is to add the fish at the very end leaving just enough time to let them cook. Cook the fish pieces too long and you will be left with an Irish seafood mush rather than a chunky creamy chowder!

Serves 8 (Makes 3.15 litres)

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 medium onions, finely chopped

100g salt pork diced (or pancetta/bacon bits)

2 dried bay leaves
1 tablespoon fresh thyme, finely chopped
1 kg of peeled and diced potatoes
1.125 litre of fish stock
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1.25kg of cod (or similar white fish)
750g of fresh salmon
500g of mussels

500g of smoked haddock
330ml of heavy cream
1 tablespoon of fresh parsley, chopped finely
100g of smoked salmon, cut into fine strips for garnish

In a large pot, heat the butter and sauté the onions for 3-4 minutes.
Add the salt pork and continue to fry until it colours.
Add in the fresh thyme, bay leaves and potatoes and cook gently for 2-3 minutes before adding the fish stock.
Season well with salt and pepper.
Simmer for 10-15 minutes until the potatoes are tender yet firm. (Some of the potato will break down and help thicken the chowder).
Add the haddock, salmon, cod and mussels and simmer gently for 5 minutes.
Remove the pot from the heat and allow to sit before finally and gently stirring in the parsley and cream.
Serve with the strips of smoked salmon as a garnish on top.

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:: Irish Seafood Chowder + thyme