Seafood Chowder with Jersey Mussels, Smoked Haddock, and Prawns. As with so many dishes, I think everyone has their favourite version of a chowder. I certainly do and I have been very, very fortunate to have eaten my fair share of chowders. My favourite is creamy New England Chowder, with clams and potatoes. Not really a surprise given my love of all things dairy. The Manhattan Chowder is a rich tomato-based soup or you can try Bacon and Corn Chowder with biscuits. The addition of crushed salted biscuit ( a cheese cracker or water biscuit ) is a traditional chowder garnish. It is a reference to many early chowders thickened with Ships Biscuits.
As there is no single definitive recipe my chowder uses some of my favourite ingredients. The best products available to anyone cooking in Jersey are seafood, butter, milk, and cream. In addition, there are a couple of more unlikely ingredients. They won’t be in your chowder if you find yourself in New England, but they add great flavour.
What to drink?
Creamy Chowders with Sweetcorn need something to lift the palate. They pair well with dry, German-style Riesling wines or hoppy Continental-style Pilsner lagers and IPA beers.
Make your Chowder a Champion
If you are not so fortunate as me living in Jersey with wonderful seafood almost washing up on my doorstep. You can buy some quality natural smoked haddock, freshly cooked prawns, and some plump tasty mussels from a reputable fishmonger. These will make an excellent chowder. You don’t have to stop there if you find them add a can of clams. If you want a few spoons of white crab meat added just before you serve and you have a really indulgent chowder.
Why not try these Mussel Recipes?
Moules à la Normande are a variation of the classic Moules marinière using the cider produced in the region. Some recipes use mushrooms and some bacon which is how I like mine. We have a long tradition of cider making in the Channel Islands. For my recipe I am using La Robeline Cider. Since 2005 Richard and Sarah Matlock have been producing a ‘champagne’ style cider. Using a vintage French cider press shipped over from Normandy.
Mussels with Pastis. Mussels play a pretty big part in my culinary life; in my day job, we sell a lot of them. But it is eating them that really gets me excited. Today’s recipe is a homage to Jerseys location close to France and another favourite of mine Pastis. The lovely flavours of Anise and liquorice really pair up with the sweetness of the mussels.
My Seafood Chowder with Jersey Mussels, Smoked Haddock, and Prawns
I have used this recipe in several professional kitchens and can assure you it will be a success. I used to have customers phone up to see if it was being served. Many chefs have a signature dish that can be something elaborate or simple, an entree or dessert, a multiple ingredient masterpiece, or startlingly simple supper. I am beginning to think that this chowder recipe is perhaps mine. That is no bad thing. Enjoy.
Seafood Chowder with Jersey Mussels, Smoked Haddock, and Prawns
- A large heavy-bottomed pan
- Ladle for serving
For the Chowder
- 1 White Onion peeled and finely chopped
- 2 large Carrots peeled and finely diced
- 2 Leeks washed and finely diced
- 2 sticks Celery washed and finely diced
- 2 heads of Fennel finely diced
- 1 clove Garlic peeled and finely chopped
- 2 pints quality Fish stock
- 500 g firm waxy Potatoes washed, peeled and diced
- 2 large pieces of natural smoked Haddock skinned
- 100 gr / 1 small tin cooked Sweetcorn Nibs
- A good pinch of freshly ground white Pepper
- Bouquet garni
- 1 Lemon
- 50 gr unsalted Jersey Butter
- 50 gr Plain Flour
- 50 ml Vermouth
- 250 ml Jersey Double Cream
- 250 ml Full Fat Jersey Milk
- 125 gr Cocktail Prawns cooked and peeled
- 500-750 gr Mussels washed and scrubbed
- Salted crackers and freshly chopped parsley
- Place all of the vegetables excluding the potatoes into a large heavy-bottomed saucepan. Sauté in the butter, without colouring until soft, add garlic and flour and cook for a further two minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a separate pan heat the fish stock. Slowly pour into the vegetables, stirring continuously, and bring to the boil.
- Prepare the haddock by removing the skin and any bones and cutting into a large dice. Add diced smoked haddock, ground pepper, bouquet garni tied with string and chunky diced potatoes to pan and simmer for 20 minutes until potatoes are soft.
- Stir regularly to prevent the chowder from sticking to the pan. Finish with milk and cream, and the juice of one lemon. Remove bouquet garni. Correct seasoning ( the soup is likely to be sufficiently salted because of the smoked haddock ).
- In a little water steam the mussels for two to three minutes until open, remove and cool. Strain out the cooking liquor and add to chowder. You can shell the mussels in you prefer them that way.
- To serve reheat with cocktail prawns and mussels, cooking for 3 to 4 minutes to totally reheat the seafood, stirring to prevent the chowder from sticking to the pan.
- Ladle carefully into a bowl and top with broken salted crackers and chopped parsley.
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