This is a simple, delicious seafood chowder recipe inspired by my girlfriend's hometown of Dungarvan. When we visit there, we often eat at The Moorings bar, which in my opinion makes the best chowder in the world.
I have tried to recreate it in my home recipe, focusing on beautiful fresh ingredients that people can buy from independent stores or supermarkets. It might seem like a lot of ingredients, but once you start, it’s very easy to make.
Eric Matthews is the head chef at Michelin-starred Chapter One restaurant in Dublin.
TRADITIONAL IRISH FISH CHOWDER
Serves four to six
500g natural smoked haddock (Make sure you steer clear of orange, dyed fish please), diced into large cubes
500g fresh mussels, cleaned (no beards or barnacles)
100g Dublin Bay prawns (frozen shrimp is fine)
150g any firm white fish, diced
1 potato, peeled, diced and boiled
150g unsalted butter
4 shallots, sliced
1 large leek, sliced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
50g celery, sliced
250ml dry white wine
300ml mussel juice (see method)
500ml fish stock (you can buy a stock pot or powder for convenience)
2 tbsp Dijon mustard
20g dill, chopped
20ml lemon juice, or to taste
1. First sweat the vegetables (except the cooked potato) in the butter until they are super soft and release a delicious smell.
2. Add the white wine and reduce to nearly nothing. At this point add half the smoked haddock and cook it gently a little more.
3. To cook the mussels, place a heavy based pot on the stove or induction on high, until it is very hot. On the side have a colander ready over a bowl to collect the mussels and their juices once they’re cooked.
4. Place the raw mussels in the hot pot with 100ml of water. Place a lid on and cook for 20 seconds, or until the liquid is boiling and the mussels open. Drain onto the colander. Pick the mussels from the shell and reserve for the garnish.
5. Add the reserved mussel stock back into the pot. Bring to the boil. Taste for salt. Add the cream, milk and fish stock and cook for 15 minutes.
6. Ladle the chowder into a food blender and blend until it is super smooth and thick .
7. Season the chowder with the mustard, dill and the lemon juice.
8. Place all the raw fish and the prawns in the hot chowder and cook for about three to four minutes, then add the boiled potatoes and mussels to reheat before serving. Season with salt to taste.
9. Enjoy this with a big slice of Guinness bread and salted butter (a pint of Guinness optional).