Seafoodchowder rsz

Almost Autumn

Moone High Cross Inn, in Moone, Co. Kildare, at autumn-time.


Ireland Hopping | Margaret M. Johnson

The calendar still indicates summer, but as most of us know Labor Day signals back-to-school, no more white (even though we ignore this for at least a few more weeks), cooler weather, and pots of soups and stews. When traveling though Ireland in autumn, you know a good bowl of soup is always on the itinerary, with ingredients ranging from root vegetables and seafood to apples and cheese. Keep these handy for when the calendar agrees!

Sign up to The Irish Echo Newsletter

Sign up today to get daily, up-to-date news and views from Irish America.

Butternut squash soup.




5 tablespoons butter

1 medium butternut squash, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

1 leek (white part only), chopped

1 small carrot, peeled and chopped

1 celery stalk, chopped

2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and chopped

1 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

1/2 teaspoon dried sage leaves

4 cups homemade chicken stock or canned low-salt chicken broth

1 cup apple cider

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

1/2 cup heavy (whipping) cream

Chopped fresh chives, for garnish

Croutons, for garnish

  1. In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, melt butter. Add squash, leeks, carrot, and celery and cook for 12 to 15 minutes, or until vegetables are soft but not browned. Stir in apples, thyme, and sage.

  2. Add stock and cider and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until vegetables are tender. Let cool.

  3. Working in batches, transfer soup to a food processor or blender (or use an immersion blender) and process until smooth. (May be prepared to this point 1 day ahead). Return soup to pan and season with salt and pepper. Bring soup to simmer and stir in cream. To serve, ladle soup into bowls and sprinkle with chives and croutons.

The colors of autumn highlight the beauty of Glendalough, the 6th-century monastic

settlement founded by St. Kevin in County Wicklow. MARGARET M. JOHNSON



3 tablespoons olive oil

4 slices thick-cut bacon, diced

1 large onion, thinly sliced

2 celery stalks, chopped

2 carrots, chopped

1 large leek (white part only), chopped

1/2 cup dry white wine

Bouquet garni (fresh parsley, thyme, bay leaf tied in cheesecloth)

1 pound small red potatoes, thinly sliced

6 cups homemade chicken stock or canned low-salt chicken broth

4 cups finely shredded cabbage

Ground pepper

Croutons, for topping

2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives, for garnish

2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley, for garnish

1. In a large saucepan or stockpot over medium heat, heat oil. Add bacon and cook 4 to 5 minutes, or until crisp. Add onion, celery, carrots, and leek and cook, stirring frequently, for 6 to 8 minutes, or until soft but not browned. Add wine, and cook for 4 to 5 minutes, or until nearly evaporated.

  1. Add bouquet garni, potatoes, and stock, bring to boil, and then reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes, or until potatoes are tender. Stir in cabbage, season with pepper, and cook for 10 to 15 minutes, or until cabbage is tender; remove and discard bouquet garni. To serve, ladle soup into deep bowls and sprinkle with croutons, chives, and parsley.


Seafood chowder.




10 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

4 cups milk, warmed

2 leeks (white part only), washed and sliced

1 small onion, chopped

1 carrot, grated

1/4 pound mussels, steamed, shells discarded

1/4 pound clams, steamed, shells discarded

1/2 pound mixed seafood, such as salmon, shrimp, and scallops

3/4 cup dry white wine

1/2 teaspoon minced garlic

2 cups fish stock or bottled clam juice

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

2 tablespoons minced fresh herbs, such as basil, dill, chervil, and chives

  1. In a large saucepan or stockpot or over medium heat, melt 8 tablespoons of butter. Stir in flour and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, or until blended. Slowly whisk in milk and cook, whisking constantly, for 3 to 5 minutes, or until mixture is smooth. Set aside.

  2. In another saucepan over medium heat, melt remaining 2 tablespoons butter. Add leeks, onion, and carrot and cook, covered, stirring once or twice, for 5 to 7 minutes, or until vegetables are soft but not browned. Add fish stock or clam juice, wine, and garlic and cook for 5 to 7 minutes, or until reduced by half.

  3. Stir in shellfish and seafood, and cook for 5 to 7 minutes, or until liquid is reduced again by half. Stir in milk mixture, season with salt and pepper, and cook until heated through. To serve, ladle chowder into shallow bowls and sprinkle with mixed herbs.


Margaret Johnson’s “Recipes” page expands this year to “Ireland Hopping: Adventures in Food, Drink, and Travel.” For further details on her work, or to order a signed cookbook with FREE SHIPPING, visit