Did I mention that I prepare my posts well in advance? Here’s proof!
I know I’m a (lot) late for St. Patrick’s Day, but perhaps you will bookmark it for next year or any time. The Friday before St. Patrick’s Day I saw a lovely post for Beef and Guinness Pie at my friend Karen’s Back Road Journal and even though I can’t tell you how tempting it was, I had to resist making it as we’d already had beef a few times that week and I usually like to keep it to once per week, maximum three times per month. So when she suggested we pop over to Colin Bofin’s blog, an actual Irish dude in Ireland, I was all over it! Colin prepares a Guinness Stew that has the most irresistible dumplings and I’m certain that his home has incredible aromas when he prepares this dish. Still having had too much beef that week, I started to wonder through Conor’s blog and I came across a lovely Irish Seafood Chowder and Scones. I couldn’t help but think that I had found my St. Patrick’s Day recipe. Thanks Conor, I’ll be stopping by your blog for inspiration again.
Colin made his own prawn stock from scratch (actually, they look more like our langoustines) but I remembered I had a bag of lobster carcass in my freezer and I knew I had the ingredients for my stock. At the time, we were still off eating fresh salmon because I wasn’t sure what the influenza implications were, so I used a tin of salmon instead. I also omitted the potato and cut down the carrot just because I’m still trying to reduce my carbs. The broth is a luxurious, creamy, velvety broth with much resemblance to the Provençal Fish Soup I made in October 2011; I cannot resist adding tomatoes and saffron to fish soup, it’s such a compelling flavour combination for my taste.
“Irish” Fish Chowder
Makes ~1.5 litres of stock
- ~542 g lobster carcass (or you can use the actual beast with the meat). Use only larger bits of shell (the smaller one’s may jam up your blender) or wrap the entire carcass in cheese cloth to contain
- 260 g celeriac, chopped finely
- 250 g onion, chopped finely
- 160 g carrot, grated
- 2 bay leaves
- 4 cloves of garlic, smashed
- 1 tomato
- 200 g skinless, boneless canned salmon (or use fresh)
- 1/2 cup white wine
- 1 tsp saffron
- 2 L water
- sea salt to taste
- 1-2 tbsp canola oil
- 50 g per serving mixed seafood, such as shrimp, calamari, crab, whitefish, mussels and such
- Soak the saffron in 1/2 cup of white wine. Set aside.
- Heat the canola oil in a large stock pot. Sauté the onions, garlic, carrot and celery root. Turn the heat down.
- Add the lobster carcass, bay leaves, salmon and saffron wine and stir well.
- Drain the oil or water off the salmon and add it to the pot.
- Cover with 2 L of fresh cold water and turn the heat up.
- Gently simmer for about 1 hour or until vegetables are soft and the broth is fragrant with the ingredients.
- Strain the liquid into a large bowl with high sides.
- Remove all the bits of shell from the strained vegetables. Return the vegetables to the broth and blend until smooth and creamy with a good heavy duty immersion blender. Strain through a fine sieve, reserving the pulp. Add cup of the strained soup to the pulp and blend again with the immersion blender, you will be surprised how much more of this pulp can be blended down fine enough to be pushed through the sieve. Press through the fine sieve again into the reserved strained soup. Return this liquid to the soup pot and begin to boil it down to reduce to about 1.5 L. What you want to end up with is a thick, flavourful chowder.
- When you have the consistency you want, add the mixed seafood (about 50 g per person) and cook through. Ladle the hot chowder into lovely rimmed bowls and pile 50 g of mixed seafood into the centre of each bowl, serve with warm oat scones and butter (pop over to Colin’s blog for the scone recipe).