For a very long time, I have been wanting a good Irish cookbook. Not just to use for St. Patrick’s Day, though it is that time of year again. I haven’t made a lot of Irish food because I haven’t known that much about it. My internet searches usually turn up recipes for Corned Beef and Cabbage, which is really more of an American thing than and Irish one. I want good Irish fare like I would have if I hopped on a plane and headed to the lush, green hills of Ireland.
I was asked if I would be interested in reviewing Rachel Allen’s new book, Rachel’s Irish Family Food. And it was serendipitous because I would have bought it anyway. :)
The pictures are beautiful! Her family farm is just lovely. Exactly the kind of place where I wouldn’t mind living or at least visiting every so often. I want to to move in with Rachel and eat at her table every single day.
I write a lot about my Norwegian heritage because I’m so proud of it. The rest of my ancestors hail from England and Scotland. No one from Ireland, sadly. But I think it’s in my genes to love seafood and the ocean. Fish chowder is one of my very favorite ways to enjoy seafood. Rachel’s recipe for Ballycotton Fish Chowder caught my eye immediately the first time I thumbed through the book. I bookmarked it as the first recipe to try, along with her recipe for Irish Soda Bread.
- Extra virgin olive oil 3 ounces (100g) bacon, cut into
- 1 small onion, chopped
- Salt and freshly ground black
- 6 ounces (175g) potatoes, peeled and cut into 3⁄8-inch (1cm) cubes
- 2 cups (500ml) chicken stock
- 1½ cups (350ml) milk
- Pinch of cayenne pepper
- 8 ounces (200g) fish fillets (mixture of salmon and a white fish, such as pollock, haddock, or cod) cut into ¾- to 1-inch (2–3cm) chunks
- 3 ounces (100g) hot smoked haddock or smoked salmon, cut into ¾-inch (2cm) pieces
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
- Pour a small drizzle of olive oil into a large saucepan over medium heat. When the oil is hot, tip in the bacon. Fry for 4 to 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until all the fat has rendered and the bacon is crispy and golden brown.
- Add the onion, season with salt and pepper (bearing in mind that the bacon is quite salty), and cook for another 5 minutes. Then add the potatoes with the stock, milk, and cayenne.
- Bring to a boil, decrease the heat, and simmer for 3 minutes, or until the cubes of potato are half cooked. Add the fish and gently simmer for another 3 to 4 minutes, until the fish is opaque and the potatoes are tender. Season with salt and pepper to taste, stir in the chopped herbs, and serve.
Rachel’s recipe for Irish Soda Bread can be found here. This post contains an Amazon affiliate link.