Sunday 19 May 2019

Clodagh McKenna: Creamy haddock chowder inspired by wild west Cork

This week our chef Clodagh McKenna prepares a smoked fish soup with fresh rosemary bread

I always have my ‘rosemary Clodagh bread’ with this chowder
I always have my ‘rosemary Clodagh bread’ with this chowder
I always have my ‘rosemary Clodagh bread’ with this chowder
Clodagh McKenna

Clodagh McKenna

I am writing this week from the foothills of the spectacular Glendalough valley in Wicklow. I’m here on a foraging trip — I’ll spend the day foraging with an expert, gathering wild botanicals and later create my own gin. It’s a bit chilly and I’m longing for a big bowl of warming chowder.

Where I was born, in Cork, is also home to some of the world’s best fish-smokers, such as Frank Hederman and Sally Barnes, to name just two.

I grew up eating lots of smoked fish and this chowder is one of my favourite ways to cook with smoked haddock. The delicious smoky flavours infuse the creamy soup — and the sweetness of the corn in autumn adds a ray of sunshine. Make it in big batches so you can freeze it for later.

I always have my ‘rosemary Clodagh bread’ — a version of soda bread — with this chowder. It’s so simple to make, no kneading or proofing required, just stirring and shaping.

The recipe can be found online so please give it a go — it’s foolproof and I bet it will become a weekly bread that you make at home like I do. You can add nuts, seeds, herbs or dried fruit to the mix.

A lovely wine to go with this chowder would be Champteloup chardonnay from the Loire Valley in France, which has a delicious creamy texture and a mineral backbone.

It complements the smoked haddock perfectly.

Smoked haddock corn chowder

Serves: 6

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 30 minutes

Serve with: Champteloup chardonnay from the Loire Valley


50g butter

300g potatoes, peeled and diced

1 onion, finely diced

1 leek, finely sliced

2 stalks of celery, finely sliced

2 garlic cloves, crushed

100ml dry white wine

500ml fish stock

300ml milk

1kg un-dyed smoked haddock, skin removed and cut into small chunks

1 corn on the cob

250ml of single cream

2 tablespoons of fresh dill, chopped

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


1. Place a medium-sized saucepan over a medium heat and melt the butter.

2. Stir in the potato, onion, leek, celery and garlic. Reduce the heat, cover and leave to sweat for five minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and add the white wine. Return the pan to the heat and cook for a further three to four minutes.

3. Pour in the stock and milk, and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes.

4. Remove the corn kernels and add them to the saucepan, then stir in the haddock and continue to cook for five minutes.

5. Add the cream, dill and season to taste. Cook for a further five minutes and serve.

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