Seafood chowder made with frozen seafood and fish and a “stock” made with oyster sauce, fish sauce, nutmeg, tarragon, garlic and water. Simple but with lots of flavour.
So this isn’t Cheat’s Seafood Chowder; it’s a simple seafood chowder. What’s the difference? The Cheat’s Seafood Chowder is made with tinned fish and salad of cooked seafood – so it’s kind of cheating. Did I since learn how to prepare and cook live seafood? No I did not. I went to Dunnes where – years ago – I bought the seafood salad that I used to make the Cheat’s chowder – I actually made it a few times – though that was a few years ago and … they no longer stock it. It was a 150g mix of cooked seafood. And it was cooked perfectly so you’d just add it at the end, stir it in and it tasted great.
Did I mention in the original that’s where I got it? Let’s check … no. I just assumed 150g of cooked seafood was readily available everywhere. And maybe it was for all I know. Anyway it’s not now. But you can buy frozen cooked seafood in Dunnes – and possibly other supermarkets?
Why do I insist on using cooked seafood? Because if I can manage to mess up cooking a chicken as many times as I have – although I have now learned how to cook it properly – I’m not taking any chances with seafood. It’s seafood.
I love seafood by the way.
But I know my limits in the kitchen. And preparing and cooking seafood is one step beyond them. At least. Which is a pity because what gave me my love of seafood was the first time I had mussels they were picked off rocks on a beach in Connemara, brought home and cooked with garlic, parsley and butter and with a squeeze of lemon over them. Gorgeous.
So the reason I ditched the tinned fish in favour of frozen is because 1) it does taste better cooked than tinned one does and 2) the brine from the tinned salmon was used to give the soup a fishy flavour (which actually worked very well) but if you’re cooking some frozen fish and seafood you’ll get plenty of fish flavour anyway.
I put together the ingredients before reading the recipe – which I have a tendency to do, I often don’t properly read the instructions at all. I just read the ingredients and imagine I know the instructions. Which is fair enough when remaking your own recipe. Or so you might think. You would be wrong. Always read the instructions first – apparently it helps. Apparently.
So that’s why in the ingredients photo below there is grated potato which I later changed to diced. Because that’s what the recipe calls for. Would it make that much difference? Honestly I don’t know. Probably. Possibly. … Maybe not. Anyway it’s works fine diced so … do that. If you’re making this. And you should because really – it’s very good. And you feel very nourished after a bowl of this.
I am pretty sure that I added white wine to the original version of this. So although it wasn’t included in the original recipe I did add in a splash here. I also added some Dijon mustard – which I definitely didn’t add to the original but … I really like mustard and lemony tangy creamy stuff so… I also added in just a few of the tarragon leaves from the “stock” into the soup. I was worried there wouldn’t be a strong enough taste but actually the soup really is infused with its sweet taste.
The frozen seafood worked really well – apart from the calamari rings which got a little overcooked and were a bit rubbery. I guess it might be best to add them in a few minutes later than the rest of the stuff – which actually seemed to cook fine.
If you’re wondering why I didn’t use a shop bought fish stock – I couldn’t find one. Homemade fish stock is supposed to be very good for you – but the nice thing about this recipe is you get a lovely bowl of fishy, seafoodie goodness without the smell of fish getting everywhere.
Even though this has 140ml single cream in it, along with some oil and butter I’m still going to tag it heart healthy because I feel better after a bowl of this. And I actually felt very good after the tinned fish version too. I should probably eat more fish.