As a youngster growing up by the sea in Donegal – my parents instilled in me a great love and appreciation for seafood. I have many fond memories clambering rocks in my wellies – and gathering mussels and periwinkles with my Dad. So, making a chowder allows me recreate a big bowl of homeliness.
Chowder is just so comforting with a slice of Irish soda bread on the side – and to create a really good chowder, it’s best to get the freshest fish available. As I now live in Galway, Gannet Fish Mongers or Galway Bay Seafoods are my preferable suppliers. Also, if you buy from a local fish monger – they can tell you exactly where the catch has come from. So, for me – I can still get my odd Donegal catch!!
You can vary your chowder with this recipe – by perhaps using clams instead of mussels, or use both if available. The world is your oyster, so to speak!
- 330g -350g of fresh mixed fish chopped into 2cm pieces (cod,hake,salmon,smoked coley and haddock are all great options)
- 250g of clean closed mussels (remove the beard if necessary)
- 1 tablespoon of butter
- 3 cloves of chopped garlic
- ½ a chopped onion
- 60g of bacon or pancetta
- 200g of potatoes peeled and chopped into cubes
- 500ml of fish stock
- 1 bay leaf
- 4 tablespoons of cream
- 300ml of full fat milk
- ½ a teaspoon of thyme/a few fresh sprigs
- Sea salt and cracked black pepper
- Melt the butter over a medium-high heat and fry off your onion and garlic until soft.
- Add the bacon bits and fry those off for a further 2 minutes.
- Next, add your thyme, a little pinch of sea salt, some pepper and the potato cubes. Fry this for a further 3-4 minutes.
- Add all of the fish stock and the bay leaf. Cover the pot and gently simmer for 10 minutes until the potatoes are tender but still firm.
- Stir in the milk and then add the fish pieces and mussels, allow to gently simmer for 4 minutes.
- Add the cream – and gently stir through over the heat for a minute.
- Remove any unopened mussels and discard.
- Serve the chowder in some deep bowls with some Irish soda bread and butter on the side.