This morning, pondering what to make for lunch with friends (I know I left it late to think about it!), perusing cookbooks and food websites for inspiration, I decided on a chowder. Helped along by it being absolutely freezing out and grey and rainy – what could be more perfect! There are so many different ingredients and methods for seafood chowder – the traditional creamy Irish seafood chowder is tasty but it’s also very heavy – I much prefer a lighter tomato / stock based chowder. This will make enough for 6 people easily and takes about an hour to prepare and cook; then you can sit down and enjoy.
100g Bacon Lardons (alternatively chop rashers into small pieces)
1 Onion, finely chopped
2 Stalks Celery, diced
2 Carrots, diced
5-6 baby potatoes, diced into small cubes
1 Tin Chopped Tomatoes
3 Tomatoes, (Not essential, but adding fresh ripe tomatoes to the chowder does add to the flavour)
700ml fish stock
2 Bay Leaves
300g Mixed Seafood (I used Cod, Haddock, Smoked Coley and Salmon – however you can use any fish you like with one proviso, include one smoked fish, haddock or coley are perfect)
100g – 150g Shellfish (I used Mussels – you can also include clams, prawns… or leave out Shellfish entirely if you prefer)
1 tbsp Olive Oil
Salt & Pepper
Parsley (to serve)
In a large pot, fry the bacon lardons in olive oil for 3-4 mins over a medium to high heat. Add the onion and saute for a further 5 minutes. While the bacon and onion are cooking, get chopping – celery, potatoes and carrots – add to the pot, and fry for about 5 minutes over a medium heat, stirring regularly.
Make up your fish stock and add this along with the tin of tomatoes, the chopped fresh tomatoes and the bay leaves, season with salt and pepper. Bring to the boil, lower the heat and simmer uncovered for 20 minutes until the vegetables have softened.
Add the fish, and simmer for 10-15 minutes letting all the flavours come together, making a delicious warming soup for a cold March day.
Garnish with the chopped parsley and serve…