My 4 year old loves seafood. Fish, shrimp, crab, mussels, clams, eel, sushi, octopus, all of it. Her favorite meal changes frequently, but rest assured that it always includes something from the sea. Lately, she’s been begging me to make her some Irish seafood chowder.
My family recently returned from a trip to Emerald Isle. And she really struggled with the cuisine. Irish food tends to be very heavy on the meat and potatoes, and has fairly mild flavors.
My daughter was raised on fiery curries, vegetable stir-fries, and spicy Asian dishes. Mashed potatoes and ground meat spiced with salt and beer really aren’t her thing. In fact, on day two of our trip, she kept tugging my sleeve and asking me to find some “India” food.
I told her that the point of travel is to experience different foods. We weren’t going to eat “India” food and instead, we’d continue to sample the local cuisine until we found something she loved.
That afternoon, we walked into a pub and I saw seafood chowder on the menu. I suspected that this might be the dish that would win her over. And let me tell you, for the next 8 days, she ordered seafood chowder for at least one meal every day. She couldn’t get enough of the fresh seafood.
Seafood chowder is a staple in Ireland. You’ll find it in nearly every restaurant, pub, or cafe. There are as many recipes for this chowder as there are people in Ireland. This is my attempt at recreating our favorite version. If you love fresh seafood – you’ll love this easy chowder. This dish is best served with Irish soda bread. Here’s my favorite recipe for soda bread!
Irish Seafood Chowder
4 small red potatoes
1 small onion, chopped
2 T butter, divided
1 large garlic clove, finely chopped
1 cup frozen corn
2 cups stock (fish or seafood stock would be great if you have it, otherwise chicken stock is just fine!)
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup half & half (feel free to substitute milk or cream)
6oz seafood (I used crab, but feel free to use your favorite – clams, salmon, whitefish, scallops, etc)
Salt and Pepper
- In a small sauce pan, boil water and simmer red potatoes until barely tender, about 15 minutes. Once cool enough to handle, chop into small pieces. I feel like the potatoes hold their shape better when you boil them separately.
- Rinse out the saucepan and add in the mussels, 1 T of butter, 1/2 cup of wine, and 1/4 cup of water. Cover with lid and cook on medium high for 8-10 minutes until the mussels have opened their shell. (If the mussels don’t open, try steaming them for another minute or two, if this doesn’t help, discard the unopened mussels as they are not fresh.) Only keep the open-shell mussels. Set aside.
- In a soup pot, melt the remaining butter. Add in garlic and onion and stir until they start to soften and sweat. Add in the stock, corn, and cooked potatoes. When the mixture starts to simmer, add in the shrimp and crab (or other seafood mixture.) Pour in the mussels, including the remain butter/wine cooking broth.
- Simmer until the shrimp are cooked through – about 8-10 minutes.
- Add in the half & half and season with salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle with parsley if using.
- Serve with soda bread on the side
The flavors from the white wine, stock and half & half really make this seafood chowder delicious. This is a quick recipe, and perfect for busy weeknights.
My daughter loved my version of Irish seafood chowder.
She especially enjoyed using her mussel shells to scoop up the goodies.