Irish Chowder (potato soup)

This recipe is near and dear to me. I say that about a lot of things but this is actually one of the very first recipe’s I ever tried to truly make myself, from scratch true to the recipe. When my husband and I first met we hardly had a nickel to our name, we lived in Philadelphia and the only chain near us was a Bennigan’s. So as our treats now and again we would go there, when my son Riley was born, his first birthday, our first anniversary’s all of our firsts were probably spent at Bennigans eating this soup. One day it dawned upon me to try it myself, how hard could it be? This is my very first restaurant remix, and I did not even know it! I make this soup a little different every time depending what I have on hand but its always a throw back to the years gone by.
Now days, I call this Irish Chowder, because to me chowder is just a staple of my childhood. Thick milky flavorful sauce with potatoes, well to me thats chowder. Growing up in New England there really is nothing comparable to good “Chow-dah”. It was really the only thing I ever cared about on any menu…anywhere. Being the fat kid that I was, I based everything on food I remember things based on what food I ate. (and I have not grown out of that yet, I’ll let you know if it ever happens) So this really does bring me back, to being a kid and having that hot creamy chowder, as well as being a struggling young couple making ends meat with a new baby. All of those scary times are great memories now, and I’m so proud to think that we’ve made it together and now our family has even grown! Through it all I still make this soup, often.
I’m thankful for this recipe because it does throw me back to a time. and I’d be lying if I weren’t secretly wishing for a monte cristo to just miraculously appear right now. Mmmm! I’m not quite sure where potato soup (chowder) sits on the scale of Irish-ness but I do know that it is wonderful, I typically serve mine with cheddar cheese, green onion and reserved bacon pieces but this time I did not have green onion available. I do believe that it really does make a difference though. On the side I also served soda bread I’d toasted. Yum!

“We may not have it all together, but together we have it all”

Irish Chowder:
1/2-3/4 pound of bacon, chopped (I use slab bacon that I’ve cut into cubes, or slices that I’ve cut into smaller pieces)

4 tablespoons butter
1 large onion
2-3 pounds of potatoes cubed
1 qt chicken stock
2 cups milk
1 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar  (optional)
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1 tablespoon pepper
salt to taste

4 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons flour

cheddar cheese
green onions-I didnt have them this time ­čÖü but they do really make this over the top fabulous.
reserved bacon bits or additional bacon

In a large stock pot or dutch oven brown the bacon until its crisp. Remove it from the pan and saute the onions. Add chicken stock, parasley, pepper and if desired the vinegar. Add potatoes to the pot and cook them until tender. In a separate pan prepare your roux by melting the butter over medium heat, whisk into the butter the flour and allow to cook 2-3 minutes just to remove the raw flour taste. Slowly whisk in the milk. Once the mixture is well combined add this to your stock pot with the potatoes and stock etc. Simmer until the potatoes are cooked. If your potatoes are large chunks use a potato masher to smash it down a little. This will thicken your soup as well but you want to leave good portions of potato. Stir your bacon into the soup, reserve some for garnish.

Add water until its your desired thickness. Serve hot with cheddar cheese, bacon pieces and green onion on top.