There are plenty more choices than salmon when it comes to making fish soup

This haddock and mussel soup is a tasty, inexpensive midweek dish

For most of us in Ireland, fish soup means chowder and chowder means salmon. While I am a fan of organic salmon, or wild salmon when I get it, there are plenty more fish in the sea when it comes to making fish soup.

Haddock is plentiful at this time of year. Shoals swim throughout the North Atlantic. For some, it is a poor cousin to cod, however I believe that we should try to eat more of this species and perhaps give cod a little break once in a while.

Haddock is inexpensive, which makes it great for using in soups or broth. For many, haddock and coley are interchangeable, but the fish are slightly different. The soup below is a great one to prepare midweek. You can even use smoked or frozen haddock. If using frozen haddock, just give the fish an extra minute or two to cook before adding the mussels.

Mussels are an amazing fast food and cook quickly, so always add them in the last minutes of cooking. Feel free to use coconut milk and lemongrass instead of cream and dillisk to make more of a Thai-style fish soup.

How to make haddock and mussel soup

In a large pot, melt 50g of butter with a little oil. When the butter foams, add one diced onion and one chopped leek with a few sprigs of thyme. Fry for a few minutes and then add one diced potato and a pinch of salt. Pour 150ml of cider into the pot and allow the alcohol to burn off. Add 500ml of fish stock and bring to a simmer.

When the potatoes are nearly ready (they should still have a slight bite in them) add 150ml cream and return to the boil. Add 250g of chopped haddock (skin removed) and a few minutes later add 250g of mussels. Cover with a lid and steam until the mussels open. This will generally take one to two minutes. To serve: ladle into four bowls and garnish with a little milled dillisk and some cold-pressed rapeseed oil.

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