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Recipe: Irish Brown Soda Bread and Seafood Chowder


Ireland's famed Ballymaloe Cookery School is located in East Cork near the bustling town of Midleton, which is known for its extraordinary farmers market. Unlike most cooking schools, Ballymaloe offers training for both hobbyists and professional chefs who benefit from access to Ballymaloe's expansive organic gardens, a dairy that produces milk and butter, and the legendary "bread shed" that pops out Ireland's famed breads. The adjacent Ballymaloe House is a full-service country inn with a superb restaurant where visitors can stay. Ballymaloe House is one of Ireland's historic Blue Book hotels. For more information contact ballymaloe.ie.

Irish Brown Soda Bread 

  • 8 ounces whole wheat flour
  • 4 ounces wheat bran
  • 4 ounces white flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 16 ounces buttermilk

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Combine ingredients in a bowl until the mixture forms a ball using your hands. Do not knead. Turn the dough onto a flour-dusted worktop, forming a tight round. Move to a baking tray. Crease the dough with vertical and horizontal lines making a cross. Bake for 15 minutes then reduce heat to 375 degrees and bake for 30 minutes more until the loaf is brown and the bottom sounds hollow when tapped! 

Irish Seafood Chowder

Pescaterians and those who do not eat pork will enjoy this authentic Irish stew that resembles New England Clam Chowder. It makes a great starter course at any St. Patrick’s Day celebration. 
Serves 6

  • 1-1/2 pounds boneless haddock, monkfish, cod or other firm white fish, cut into 1-inch chunks 
  • 1 pound mixed, shellfish (mussels, clams, scallops or shrimp)
  • 1 tablespoon olive or sunflower oil
  • ¼ pound bacon, cut into ¼-inch dice
  • 2 large onions, diced
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 3 3/4 cups homemade fish stock or water
  • 2 cups whole milk 
  • Bouquet garni tied up with 6 parsley stalks, 2 sprigs of thyme, and a bay leaf
  • 6 medium potatoes cut into 1/3-inch dice
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • Pinch of mace and cayenne pepper 
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • Sprigs of parsley and chive

Heat oil in a saucepan, browning the bacon until crisp. Add the onion and sweat for a few minutes. Stir in flour and simmer a few minutes more. Add the fish stock, potatoes, bouquet garni and seasonings. Cover and simmer until the potatoes are almost cooked, 5-6 minutes. 
Add the fish and the milk. Simmer gently for 3 or 4 minutes, then stir in the cream and add the shellfish cooking for a few more minutes until the soup just returns to a boil. The fish will continue to cook in the heat of the chowder. Do not overcook. Correct seasonings and serve sprinkled with chopped parsley and chives. 

Get Your Green On!

Sara Hare, a food writer and Diablo contributor, will lead an Ireland Insider food tour to Dublin and County Cork starting summer 2018. For more information, contact her at sara@sarahare.com.  


Click here to read our St. Paddy's Party article.

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