This is the perfect warming bowl after you get home cold and hungry from the St. Patrick’s Day parade. The genius thing is it only takes about 20 minutes to make and is filling enough for dinner.
I recently saw Irish chef Kevin Dundon of Dunbrody House in Wexford on TV making the fish chowder they serve in the hotel. It looked so easy and delicious that I couldn’t wait to make my own version. In Chicago, we don’t have the same selection of fish that they have in Ireland, so I improvised using the wild fish my local supermarket had available. I even threw in half a can of wild Alaskan salmon that I was leftover from lunch. What makes this chowder Irish is the smoked salmon, but other than that, feel free to use any other fish and seafood available to you. I have converted everything into American measurements.
Nil geal an gaire ach san ait a mbionn an biadh — laughter is brightest were the food is best. Happy St. Patrick’s Day!
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- 2 tbsp. butter
- 1 small leek, cleaned and chopped
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 1 small carrot, diced
- 2 medium red potatoes peeled and cubed
- 2 oz. smoked salmon, cut into strips
- 1/4 cup dry white wine
- 2 cups fish or seafood stock (I used Swanson's seafood stock in a box)
- 1/4 lb. sockeye salmon, cut into bite size pieces and skin removed.
- 1/4 pound cod, cut into bite size pieces and skin removed
- 1/4 pound haddock, cut into bite size pieces and skin removed
- 6 Key West shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 1 tbsp. chopped, fresh tarragon
- 1/2 cup cream
- salt and pepper
- Melt the butter in a large, heavy saucepan over medium heat.
- Add leek, onion, carrot, potato and smoked salmon. Saute for a few minutes until the vegetables soften
- Pour in the wine and allow the liquid to reduce by half.
- Add the fish or seafood stock. Bring the liquid to a simmer, then add the fresh fish and shellfish.
- Bring the pot back to a simmer. Add the tarragon, cream, salt and pepper.
- Cover and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes.
- Serve in bowls with fresh bread and butter
- 3 tbsps olive oil
- 1 tbsp butter
- 1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
- 2 russet potatoes, washed, peeled and diced
- 2 leeks – tough outer green leaves removed, washed and chopped
- ¼ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
- 2 ½ pints chicken stock
- Salt and white pepper
- 6 oz. watercress, washed and chopped.
- ½ cup heavy cream
- Shamrock croutons:
- Shamrock shaped cookie cutter
- 4 slices whole wheat bread
- 4 tsps. butter
- 1/2 cup grated Irish cheddar cheese.
- In a large saucepan or dutch oven heat olive oil and butter over a moderate heat. Add the onion, potatoes and leeks. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Pour in the chicken stock. Season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then turn down heat and simmer for 20 minutes until the potatoes are tender.
- Stir in the chopped watercress until it wilts. Add the cream and nutmeg.
- Remove from the heat, let soup cool. Puree using a hand blender, blender or food processor.. Adjust seasoning and warm before serving.
- Shamrock croutons:
- Use the cookie cutter to cut out shamrock shapes.
- Butter one side of the shamrock crouton.
- Toast under a broiler or toaster oven on toast setting.
- Remove from the heat, turn the crouton over and sprinkle with grated cheddar cheese.
- Return to the broiler or toaster oven -- cheese side up -- until the cheese is melted and starts to brown.
- Ladle warmed soup into bowls. Place the shamrock crouton on top.
Photo courtesy of Bord Bia, the Irish Food Board.
Warm up after the chilly St. Patrick’s Day parade with this hearty, watercress and potato soup with festive shamrock croutons. Watercress is a semiaquatic plant with a peppery flavor that has been eaten in Ireland for centuries. It was one of the foods given as tribute to Irish kings. Ireland’s second best known saint, Saint Brendan — who according to legend discoverd North America — was said to have subsisted on watercress. If the vegetable provided Saint Brendan with the stamina to cross the rough Atlantic it will surely provide enough energy to get through a weekend of Paddy’s Day activities. Happy St. Patrick’s Day!
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