One memory always comes to mind whenever I think of seafood chowder. That memory is of having Sunday lunch in a restaurant that was always close to my family’s heart – the Belfry, which sadly shut down quite a few years ago.
This restaurant served mouth-wateringly good comfort food. Forget snazzy, small portioned plates of food. The Belfry specialised in serving soul-warming dishes which were laden with flavour. A few of my favourites included: their signature chicken curry; a rich, creamy lasagne, which would ensure that you would return for more; a chilli con carne basket, which was hot, hot, hot – but oh so divine; and last but in no means least, the seafood chowder, served in a bread bowl just for your delight.
My father would always order the chowder. When the Belfry finally did shut, we scouted the county for a replacement restaurant in hope of finding seafood chowder which was worthy of substitution. Sadly, no other seafood chowder compared.
So recently, I decided to challenge my inner chef, by attempting to make seafood chowder worthy of its predecessor. The result you ask? Chowder fit for a king!
Ingredients (Serves 3):
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 rasher, rind removed, cut into small chunks
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 1 celery stalk, thinly sliced
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
- 2 tbsp plain flour
- 250ml milk, hot
- 175g potatoes, peeled and cut into 1cm chunks
- 500ml chicken stock
- 250g mixed fish
- 100ml double cream
- Parsley, to garnish
- Heat the oil in a large saucepan, add the rasher and cook over a medium heat until it begins to crisp. Add the onion and cook until it begins to soften. Proceed to add the celery and garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes in order to soften. Add the flour and continue to cook for 1 minute. Stir in the hot milk, add the potatoes and stock, cooking for a further 5 minutes. Stir in the fish and cook for 5 minutes or until the fish turns opaque. Stir in the cream and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve in deep bowls with homemade brown bread, sprinkled with fresh parsley.