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For St. Patrick - Molly Malone's Magic Irish Soups

Updated on March 11, 2015

Mollusk Mascot of a Nation

Soups of several kinds make up part of traditional Irish cuisine and are very tasty. They include natural ingredients, sustainable resources, native vegetables and seafood, and some interesting combinations.

One such soup might be set to the tune of the old Irish song Molly Malone.which is a type of anthem sung especially in Dublin by sports teams and other groups. Listen to the song performed by the Irish band The Dubliners in the video below.

The Dubliners - Molly Malone

How to Use Sustainable Cockles

Molly Malone's Soup - from Family Recipes

Molly Malone’s Cockle and Mussel Soup - Serves many.

[Some American cooks like to vary the recipe and add corn kernels for a chowder. That's good, too.]


  • 40 or so cockles and/or mussels
  • 1 Oz butter or butter substitute
  • 1 Yellow onion chopped fine
  • 3 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 2 Cups whole or 2% milk
  • 2 Ribs of celery chopped fine
  • 2 Tbsp chopped parsley
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • ½ Cup Cream


  • 1 Rib of celery, minced or some finely chopped parsely (for garnish)


  • Thoroughly wash the shellfish shells and remove all dirt and debris (see the helpful video to the right).
  • Put the shellfish in a large pot, cover with water, season with a small handful of of table salt and bring to the boil.
  • Boil until the shellfish open, indicating that they are done. Turn off the heat and let cool.
  • Drain the shellfish, but keep the water and place it back into the pot, and cut the shellfish from their open shells where they are each connected. Place them in a bowl and set aside.
  • In large pot over low to medium heat, melt the butter or substitute and add the onion.
  • Stir and let the onion sweat (cook slowly) until soft.
  • Add flour 1 Tbsp at a time, stirring after each, and continue to cook for 60 seconds after the third spoonful of flour.
  • Take the shellfish boiling-liquid you kept, add the milk to it, and stir.
  • Add the milk- water mixture a little at a time to the soup pot, stirring with each addition.
  • Add the chopped celery and cook 5-6 minutes, add parsley, stir, taste and season with salt and pepper.
  • Bring the soup to the boil, lower heat to medium, and simmer 3-4 minutes.
  • Add the bowl of shellfish to the soup and stir until heated through.
  • Add the cream and stir briefly, but do not allow to boil again.
  • Serve the soup when warmed through , with celery or parsley for garnish.

Cockles are found in several places gobally and in several varieties, these being caught in New Zealand. (Photo, public donaim.)
Cockles are found in several places gobally and in several varieties, these being caught in New Zealand. (Photo, public donaim.)

Smoked Haddock Soup

This traditional recipe serves 6 guests.


  • 2 Yellow onions, peeled and chopped
  • 2 Large carrots, pared and chopped
  • 1 Large white potato, peeled and cubed (some cooks enjoy leaving the skin in tact, or leaving skin on some of the potato)
  • 2-3 Tbsp butter or a butter substitute
  • 1 Whole smoked haddock of about 2 pounds (check your local fish market or grocery chain)
  • 1 Large bunch of parsley, tied by the stems together with string
  • 1 Bay leaf
  • 2 Cloves garlic, peeled
  • 6 Cups of vegetable or fish stock
  • 1 Sprig  of fresh thyme


  • Cream for drizzling
  • Grated nutmeg (or ground nutmeg if you have no whole nutmeg)



  • In a large soup pot over medium heat, melt the butter or butter substitute.
  • Add the  chopped onion, carrots and cubed potato and stir. Cook until vegetables are just beginning to become soft.
  • Place the whole haddock,  parsley bunch,  bay leaf, garlic cloves (whole) vegetable or fish stock, and thyme into the soup pot and stir briefly.
  • Let the pot simmer until the vegetables are tender (do not allow to come to the boil).
  • Remove the fish from the pot onto a platter and then remove the haddock bones and discard them safely, away from children and pets that might swallow them.  
  • Remove the parsley, thyme sprig, and bay leaf form the soup pot and discard them.
  • Take the broken meat from the haddock and place it back into the soup pot and heat through, stirring occasionally.
  • Into a large bowl in a clean and sanitzed sink, pour and press the haddock soup through a sieve (strainer) into the bowl. Discard dredges in the sieve.
  • Pour the bowl of soup back into the soup pot and heat through until hot and ready to serve. Break up the fish into manageable pieces if it has not done so on its own.
  • Serve th haddock soup in bowls and drizzle with a bit of cream and grate a little nutmeg on top of the cream.


Vegetarian Cabbage Soup

Serves several. This variation of a traditional cabbage soup is healthy and can fight cancer with lower fat content, no meat, and cabbage, which is an anti-cancer food. Chicken stock can be substituted for the vegetable stock.


  • 1 Cabbage, medium sized - trimmed, core removed, and quartered
  • 1 Large mixing bowl
  • 1 large pot of unsalted boiling water
  • 2 Tbsp canola oil
  • 1 Yellow onion chopped
  • 1 Pound white potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 2 Tbsp all purpose flour
  • 2 Cups 2% milk
  • 2 Cups vegetable stock 


  • 1 Tbsp chopped parsley
  • 1 Tbsp chopped chives
  • 2 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese


  • Put the cut cabbage into the bowl and pour over with boiling water to cover without overflowing. Discard remaining water.
  • Let cabbage stand 5 minutes and drain; pat dry with a clean towel.
  • Cut cabbage into slices.
  • Pour canola oil to the emptied pot and sauté onions until just tender, 7-10 minutes.
  • Add cabbage slices and cubed potatoes; stir and cook vegetables 4-5 minutes, then add nutmeg and flour. Stir until very well mixed.
  • Alternate all of the milk and vegetable broth into the pot little by little, stirring constantly. Add nutmeg and stir briefly.
  • Raise the pot to the boil while stirring, then lower heat to simmer and cook until cabbage and potatoes are tender (15 - 20 minutes).
  • Serve as is with Parmesan, chive, and parsley garnish, or puree the soup, reheat and serve.


© 2010 Patty Inglish MS


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