Irish Seafood Chowder is a hearty soup made with seafood and cream. It’s crammed with vegetables for extra flavour. Serve it with crusty seeded bread or Irish soda bread for a meal that will warm the cockles of your heart!
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Traditional Irish Seafood Chowder
My first taste of authentic Irish Seafood Chowder was in on a cold rainy day in a pub in the Temple Bar area of Dublin.
My daughter and I had taken the ferry from Hollyhead to Dublin for a quick holiday weekend in Ireland. I love going on a ferry. Even though you are travelling, it’s as though your holiday starts the moment you board.
You can sit and relax next to the windows and watch the sea roll by. Or you can go outside onto the upper deck and let the cobwebs get blown away by the strong bracing wind coming off the Irish Sea.
By the time the ferry docks in Dublin you are ready for all the sights that Dublin has to offer.
So we were quite disappointed on our arrival to find that it was raining.
I should have known. I once spent 6 months living and working in Dublin, commuting Monday and Friday from England (by air, not ferry). And it rained. Every. Single. Day. Maybe not the entire day and maybe just a shower. But every single day in Dublin for the 6 months I was there it rained for at least part of the day.
A traditional Irish bar
On the day my daughter and I arrived however, it wasn’t a gentle shower, it was a torrential downpour. Sightseeing was out of the question. So after checking into the hotel we grabbed a taxi and made our way to the Temple Bar area, and ended up at the Oliver St John Gogarty Traditional Irish bar.
We walked in through the doors, out of the rain, into the most amazing atmosphere. The place was jam-packed with people talking and laughing. In the corner of the room a band was playing traditional Irish music. One brave soul was doing an Irish jig in front of them. We managed to find a table to sit at, took a look at the menu, and both of us decided on a bowl of Traditional Irish Seafood Chowder.
We weren’t disappointed. The chowder was brimming with seafood, creamy potatoes and chunky carrots. Little pops of sweetness were provided by juicy corn kernels. And it was all swimming in a delicious thick, creamy sauce. It was served with seeded Irish soda bread, which we used to wipe every last drop out of the bowl.
That was when we decided we had to make our own version of Irish Seafood Chowder at home. So we searched our handbags for a pen (luckily one of us had one) and wrote down the ingredients we’d identified, on a paper serviette. And this is the result. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did!
Ingredients for Irish Seafood Chowder
You can get the complete list of ingredients and full instructions on how to make Irish Seafood Chowder on the printable recipe card at the end of this post.
You will need these ingredients. This is a generous recipe and will easily feed 4 people. If you have any left over, it freezes beautifully.
- 1/2 cup chopped Celery
- 1 cup chopped Carrots
- 2 cups chopped Potatoes
- 1 small tin good quality whole kernel sweetcorn including the liquid – I like to use Green Giant because it is so sweet, and has a lovely crunchy texture.
- 250g (8 ounces) frozen mixed seafood mix (ready-cooked)
- 100g (3 and a half ounces) frozen cooked prawns (or shrimp if you live in the US)
- 2 cloves minced garlic
- 100g (3 and a half ounces) butter
- 2 cups milk
- 1 cup fresh single cream – pouring cream not whipping cream
- 2 heaped teaspoons cornflour – mixed to a paste with 2 Tablespoons water
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to your own taste.
How to make Irish Seafood Chowder
This is a very simple recipe to make. There are only a few steps involved and it only takes around 30 minutes to prepare and cook.
Prepare the vegetables
- Peel the carrots and potatoes.
- Chop the carrots and celery into 1/2 inch (1cm) chunks and the potatoes into 1 inch (2cm) pieces.
- The reason for this is the potatoes cook faster than the carrots and celery, so making them a bit larger ensures the vegetables are all cooked at the same time.
Melt the butter and coat the vegetables
- Melt the butter over a low heat in a saucepan and saute the garlic briefly to release the flavour into the butter (image 1 above).
- Add the chopped vegetables and stir well to coat (image 2 above). Put the lid on the saucepan and allow the vegetables to sweat gently in the butter until they start to soften. This should take about 8 minutes. Keep the heat low – you don’t want to brown the vegetables, they should just steam in their own juices.
Add the milk and seasoning
- Remove the lid from the pan and add the milk, salt and black pepper.
- Crank up the heat until the milk starts to boil, then reduce the heat back to a simmer and leave for about 10 minutes (image 3 above).
- Don’t put the lid back on the saucepan at this stage or the milk WILL boil over.
Add seafood and sweetcorn
- Keep testing the vegetables to see whether they are cooked.
- As soon as they are soft you can add the mixed seafood, the prawns (shrimp) and the sweetcorn (with the liquid from the sweetcorn) (image 4 above).
- Bring back to the boil then turn the heat down again to a simmer. Leave for 5 minutes until the seafood is warmed through. You don’t need a long cooking time for this as the seafood is already cooked and only needs to warm through.
- Stir in the cream, taste for seasoning and add more salt and/or pepper if necessary. I think this dish benefits from a lot of ground black pepper.
Thicken the chowder
- To thicken the chowder drizzle in the cornflour and water mixture while stirring over a low heat.
- Let the chowder simmer for a further 1 minute to give the cornflour time to cook.
- Serve in a soup bowl with lots of crusty bread to mop up the last delicious mouthful.
Can I freeze Irish Seafood Chowder?
Yes you certainly can freeze this dish. In fact I always make a large batch and freeze half for another meal.
Just allow the chowder to cool and then pack it into a rigid plastic container (tupperware or similar) and freeze for up to 3 months.
To use, tip the frozen chowder into a saucepan and heat gently over a very low heat until it has defrosted. Then turn the heat up slightly and continue to heat until it is piping hot. Serve immediately.
Don’t forget to check out my handy Cookery Conversion Calculator if you want to convert any of your recipe measurements from grams to cups, ounces, tablespoons or millilitres and vice versa. You can also use the calculator for converting oven temperatures between Fahrenheit, Celsius and Gas marks.
If you live at a high altitude you may find you need to adjust your baking recipes to compensate for this. You can read all about it in this post on baking at high altitudes.
Pin for later
Why not pin this recipe for Irish seafood chowder so you can make it later.
Irish Seafood Chowder recipe
Irish Seafood Chowder
(Click the stars to rate this recipe)
- Sharp Knife
- Chopping Board
- Garlic press
- Soup bowls for serving
- ½ cup chopped celery (½" dice) approximately 1 large stalk
- 1 cup chopped carrot (½" dice) approximately 1 large carrot
- 2 cups chopped potato (1" dice) approximately 3 large potatoes
- 1 small tin whole kernel sweetcorn (198g tin)
- 8 ounces (225g) frozen mixed seafood pre-cooked not raw (approx 2 cups)
- 3½ oz (125g) frozen whole prawns (shrimp) pre-cooked not raw (approx 1 cup)
- 2 cups (1 pint) milk
- 1 cup single cream single cream or pouring cream (½ cup)
- 3½ oz (100g) butter
- 2 cloves garlic finely minced
- 2 teaspoons cornflour mixed to a paste with 2 Tablespoons water
- Salt and ground black pepper to taste
- Chop the carrots and celery into ½" pieces and the potatoes into 1" pieces
- Melt the butter over a low heat in a large saucepan
- Add the garlic, saute for 1 minute then add the chopped celery, carrots and potatoes.
- Mix well to combine with the butter. Cover with a lid and allow to sweat gently over a low heat for 8 minutes until the vegetables start to soften.
- Remove the lid from the pan and add the milk, salt and black pepper. Bring to the boil and then reduce the heat and simmer with the lid OFF for about 10 minutes.
- Taste the vegetables to ensure they are fully cooked. If they are still a little hard, continue to simmer until they are soft.
- Add the mixed seafood, prawns (shrimp) and sweetcorn (including the liquid from the sweetcorn), mix to combine and bring back to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes until the seafood is warmed through.
- Keep the heat on a slow simmer and stir in the cream.
- Taste for seasoning and add more salt or pepper if necessary.
- Drizzle in the cornflour/water mixture stirring continually. Simmer for a further 1 minute.
- Serve in a soup bowl with slices of crusty seeded bread or Irish soda bread.
I am not a nutritionist. The nutrition information has been calculated using an on-line calculator, and is intended for information and guidance purposes only. If the nutrition information is important to you, you should consider calculating it yourself, using your preferred tool.
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