Smoked haddock chowder

Smoked haddock chowder

Leiths How to Cook
Peter Cassidy


Quantity Ingredient
1 onion
50 g piece smoked bacon
100g potato
1/2 lemon
small handful flat-leaf parsley
350g smoked haddock fillet
600ml milk
1 bay leaf
1 small mace blade
30g butter
50-75ml double cream
freshly ground black pepper


  1. Halve and peel the onion, then slice half of it and finely dice the other half, keeping them separate. Remove any rind from the bacon and cut into lardons. Wash, peel and dice the potato. Juice the lemon, finely chop enough parsley leaves to give you 1 tablespoon, then set aside.
  2. Scrape off any scales from the smoked haddock and place it skin side down in a sauté pan. Pour over the milk and add the sliced onion, bay leaf and mace. If the fish is not completely covered, add a little more milk or tuck a damp cartouche over the fish. Bring the milk to scalding point.
  3. Reduce the heat and poach the fish gently for about 5 minutes, depending on the size and thickness of the fillet, then remove from the heat and leave to finish cooking in the cooling milk. The fish is cooked when it has turned opaque and the skin comes away easily.
  4. Once cooled, remove the fish from the milk with a fish slice. Remove the skin and any bones and break the fish into large flakes. Set aside.
  5. Strain the milk, discarding the onion, bay leaf and mace. Taste it, and if very strongly flavoured, dilute with a little more milk, topping it up to 600 ml.
  6. Put the lardons in a medium saucepan and sauté over a low to medium heat for 3–4 minutes, or until the fat is beginning to render, then remove the lardons and set aside. Lower the heat, add the butter and the diced onion and cook gently until the onion is softening but still colourless. Add the potato and continue to cook very slowly for a further 10 minutes until the potato begins to soften.
  7. Pour in the milk, increase the heat to medium and bring to a simmer. Allow to simmer until the potato is cooked, about 10 minutes, when a cube can be squeezed easily against the side of the pan.
  8. Leave the soup to cool a little, then purée in a blender in batches until smooth. Pass the soup through a sieve into the rinsed out saucepan.
  9. Reheat the soup gently and add the reserved lardons and smoked haddock. Taste and add some or all of the cream to taste, and season with salt, pepper and a few drops of lemon juice. Stir through the parsley just before serving.


  • Smoked haddock chowder with spinach: Add 150 g spinach, wilted, to the finished soup.

    Leek and smoked haddock chowder: Replace the diced onion with ½ small leek, finely sliced.

    Clam chowder: Omit the smoked haddock, sliced onion, bay leaf and mace. Steam 400 g clams in 20 g butter, take out the clams, shell them and set aside, discarding the shells. Strain, taste and reduce the clam liquor if necessary, then add it to the soup when the milk is added to cook the potatoes in step 7. Proceed as for the main recipe, adding the clam meat at the end with the lardons.
Leiths School of food and wine
cookery course
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