Irish Seafood Chowder
On my quest to find more Irish dishes besides the corned beef and cabbage gig, I pondered what else would the Irish make? Well, there is a LOT of ocean around Ireland, so they must have seafood, yes? I googled Irish Seafood and a small school of Irish Seafood Chowder recipes surfaced. That made me smile. I love a good seafood chowder.
I studied several of them, gleaned the main ingredients, and began making my version of an Irish chowder. They say you can use any kind of seafood–I chose shrimp, salmon and crab. I saw some included mussels, but that is not something we have available to us in this land-locked place I call home. I had to resort to frozen or canned seafood, but if you have fresh available to you, oh yes, use fresh seafood.
This chowder is hearty and rich, thick and creamy. The crab meat melts into the broth and thickens it. I added tarragon and thyme for a bit more flavor. Not sure if the Irish would do that, but I’ve seen tarragon in other recipes, so I figure it might sneak into the seafood chowder.
- 2 slices lean nitrate-free bacon
- 1/2 Tablespoon olive oil
- 1 leek, rinsed and chopped
- 2 stalks celery, chopped
- 3 carrots, peeled & chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled & chopped
- 4 potatoes, peeled and chopped (about 4 cups)
- 2 cups fish broth or clam juice or 2 cups water + 3 Tablespoons fish sauce
- 1 bay leaf
- 4 oz. Greek cream cheese (or Neufchatel)
- 1 Tablespoon cornstarch
- 3 cups low fat milk
- 1/2 lb. salmon, cut into small pieces
- 1/2 lb. shrimp, tails removed
- 1 6-oz. can crabmeat, drained
- 1 teaspoon tarragon
- 1/2 teaspoon thyme
- In a nonstick soup pot, cook the bacon over medium heat, then remove it from the pan and set aside.
- Add the olive oil, leek, celery, carrots and garlic to the pan and saute until the celery is tender. While the veggies are cooking, chop the bacon.
- Add the potatoes, broth and bay leaf to the pot and cook for about 20 minutes or until the potatoes are tender. Take about 2 cups of the hot soup and put it in a blender with the Greek cream cheese, cornstarch and 1 cup of milk. Blend until smooth and pour the milk mixture back into the pot.
- Stir in the salmon, shrimp, crabmeat, chopped bacon and seasonings, reduce heat to medium low and cook for about 5 minutes longer until the shrimp is pink and the salmon is done. Do NOT allow the chowder to boil! Add salt & freshly ground pepper to taste and a pinch of cayenne or chipotle powder if you desire a little tingle on your tongue. Stir in a bit more milk if you feel the chowder is too thick. Keep the on the stove on low heat until serving time.
RECIPE SOURCE: http://www.sumptuousspoonfuls.com/
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