Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Irish Potato Chowder Recipe

I am sneaking in one more St. Patty’s Day-inspired recipe. This is what I made to eat with my Irish Soda Biscuits from the previous post. It is a quick, healthy chowder recipe that I modeled after my Corn and Seafood Chowder.

I spent an inordinate amount of time debating what else I should add to this chowder. I originally conceived it as a “vegetable chowder” instead of just focusing on the potatoes. But, the idea was to have an Irish theme, and it doesn’t get more Irish than tender chunks of russet potatoes. Leeks and scallions provide a vegetal counterpoint to all that wonderful starch; a handful of Irish cheddar adds richness and protein; and bacon just makes it all good.

When I told Mike over the phone about making this chowder for myself on Wednesday (he travels for work every week), he said, “You made chowder without me?” in a sweetly pathetic voice. Well, I have to eat too, don’t I? I didn’t have the heart to tell him about the biscuits until the next day. I did save him plenty of leftovers, which are excellent.

Irish Potato Chowder
You can add anything you want to this simple, healthy chowder. Cut back on potatoes a bit and add carrots, parsnips or sweet potatoes, for example. If you don’t have marjoram, use all thyme.

Serves 3 to 4

5 slices bacon
2 large leeks, trimmed of tough outer leaves, sliced lengthwise and chopped in to 1/2-inch pieces
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 tsp. dried thyme
1/4 tsp. dried marjoram
2 tbs. all-purpose flour
2 lbs. russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch thick pieces
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
2 cups lowfat milk
1 tbs. cornstarch dissolved in 1 tbs. water
2 tsp. white wine vinegar, cider vinegar or lemon juice
1 cup grated Irish cheddar cheese (about 2 ounces)
5 scallions, thinly sliced

In a large saucepan or Dutch oven, cook the bacon over medium-low heat. Drain on paper towels, break into pieces and set aside. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon of bacon fat from the pot. Add the leeks and season with salt and pepper. Cook until lightly browned, about 4 minutes. Add garlic, thyme and marjoram; cook one minute, stirring constantly. Add flour and cook, stirring constantly for 2 minutes. Add potatoes and give them a few turns to combine. Add the broth and milk, season again, cover and bring to a simmer. Cook until potatoes are tender, 10 to 15 minutes.

Stir in cornstarch mixture to thicken chowder slightly. Stir in vinegar and bacon pieces. Taste for seasoning and add more salt and pepper as needed. Ladle in to bowls and serve topped with cheese and scallions.

Kiss me, I'm giving you some great Irish recipes from other blogs:

Skillet Irish Soda Bread from Smitten Kitchen - I wish I had thought of this!
Irish Buttermilk Scones from Albion Cooks - Super-simple and perfect.
Agnes O'Sullivan's Brown Bread from Tea & Cookies - With whole wheat flour, bran and wheat germ.
Irish Lamb Stew with a Twist from Simply Recipes - This recipe amps up the flavor.
Bailey's Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies from Baking Bites - Reminds me of those days when I drank Bailey's with reckless abandon.


Muse in the Kitchen said...

This looks so good! I love any soup that has leeks in it, and chowders are just wonderful, especially on a cold winter's day.


Peabody said...

Now this is my kind of St. Pattys Day food! Yum...much better than corn beef.

Shandy said...

WoW! This looks delicious and perfect for St. Paddy's Day. Your hubby will appreciate the fact that you saved him leftovers. Besides, chowders are always better the second time because the flavors have had a chance to mingle =).

Susan from Food Blogga said...

I never make St Paddy's Day meals, but this year I made a Shamrock Shake. Does that count?
Next year, I'm making this chowder. It looks fabulous!

LisaRene said...

You score points in the "dare to be different" category as I haven't run across anyone else who made a potato chowder for St. Patrick's day. Great idea!

Julie said...

Thanks all! This chowder does make great leftovers. I kept this recipe so simple because I just wanted that bland, comforting potato flavor, you know...bland in a very good way.
Susan: Your shamrock shake totally counts if it has a little booze in it:)

Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting this, it looks great and healthy too! My husband also travels during the week for work, especially this time of year, so I know what you mean about telling your husband what you made while he was feel bad, but you are right, you have to eat too!