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Howth Head Seafood Chowder

Fish chowder
Bowl of creamy fish chowder with oyster crackers.Shutterstock

Chef notes

My hometown of Howth is famous throughout Ireland for its fish. This wonderfully creamy seafood chowder always reminds me of home and with a few slices of brown bread with Irish salted butter, I'm there in an instant. 


  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup pancetta, cut into cubes
  • 2 thyme sprigs, leaves picked
  • 1 bay leaf
  • cups potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • cups fish stock
  • Sea salt and ground black pepper
  • 1/3 pound cod or haddock, skinned and flesh cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1/3 pound salmon, skinned and flesh cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1/2 pound undyed smoked haddock, skinned and flesh cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 2 pounds mussels in their shells, cleaned
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream (try not to use ultrapasteurized if you can find an alternative)
  • Smoked salmon, cut into strips, to garnish


Melt the butter in a large pot over a medium-high heat. Add the onion and fry for 3-4 minutes until softened.
Add the pancetta and continue to fry until it colors, then stir in the thyme leaves, bay leaf and potatoes and cook gently for 2-3 minutes before adding the fish stock. Season well with sea salt and ground black pepper.

Simmer for 10-15 minutes until the potatoes are tender yet firm. Add the cod, salmon, smoked haddock and mussels and simmer gently for 5 minutes. Discard any mussels which haven't opened whilst cooking. Remove the pot from the heat and gently stir through the parsley and cream. Try not to stir too vigorously as the fish chunks will break up.

Serve in warmed deep bowls with the strips of smoked salmon as a garnish on top.