Like many traditional Irish dishes, seafood chowder was once perceived to a poor man’s food. Made with the catch of the day – usually haddock or salmon – and combined with available shellfish, produce, and cream, seafood chowder was a simple, hearty, and delicious staple for Irish fishermen. Today, seafood chowder can be found in any pub or restaurant that serves traditional Irish food – so almost anywhere! Recipes vary from place to place, but the seafood chowder is always delicious. This recipe is my personal favorite with a mild smokiness from the smoked haddock and generous amounts of fish and shellfish.
1 large potato, peeled and cubed
8 ounces smoked haddock fillets, skin on
1 bay leaf
1 shallot, halved
22 fl ounces whole milk
2 tablespoons butter
1 onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 cup frozen corn kernels, thawed
12 steamed clams
12 steamed mussels
8 ounces salmon fillet, cooked and roughly chopped
6 ounces raw prawns
1 tablespoon fresh flat-leaf parsley
3 tablespoons chopped dill
Salt and pepper to taste
Place the cubed potato pieces into a pot and cover with salt water by at least one inch. Bring to a boil and cook until tender (approximately 7 minutes).
In a medium skillet, add the smoked haddock (skin side up), bay leaf, shallot, and whole milk. Bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and allow to cook for 3-4 minutes. Remove from the heat and leave the haddock in the milk to finish cooking.
To a large saucepan, heat the butter over medium heat. Add the chopped onions and allow to cook until softened, stirring frequently (approximately five minutes). Next, add the garlic, cooked potato cubes, and corn. Allow to cook for another minute, stirring frequently.
Remove the haddock from the milk and tear into bite size pieces, removing skin. Set aside.
Strain the milk that the haddock was cooked in into the large saucepan with the onions, potatoes, garlic, and corn. Bring to a boil, then allow the mixture to simmer for 20 minutes.
Add the smoked haddock, clams, mussels, salmon, and prawns to the saucepan until heated through. Stir in parsley and dill. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Serve with Irish soda bread and enjoy!