3 November, 2015
Smoked Salmon Chowder
Smoking some salmon seemed like such a simple task and it was largely. But I left it in the brine too long. Even before I smoked it, I had realized it was likely to be too salty. I was right. My brother said something about a salt lick. That left me wondering what to do with it. Then it struck me. Make chowder with it!
My previous attempts at smoked salmon chowder had left me underwhelmed. The salmon seemed bland and there was something missing. Not only that, but since Ivar’s, a regional seafood restaurant, had changed their recipe, I hadn’t been able to buy good salmon chowder either. Shortly thereafter, conversation with my aunt Rose had confirmed my suspicion on a conspicuously missing ingredient. Tarragon. AH HA! That was it. Nearly every recipe I’ve seen leaves it out. That left the issue of the salmon itself. I got to thinking that just maybe the excessively salty salmon might make a good stock for a base for the soup. So, instead of using chicken stock like most recipes called for, I made a stock using about half a pound of smoked salmon with about 5 cups of water (it cooks down). Some would tell you that you shouldn’t put the salmon in the soup too early because it gets soft. Personally, I don’t see the issue as long as you also add some late in the process.
You’ll need salmon stock for this recipe and you can find where to make it here
- 3-4 tablespoons butter
- 2 large cloves of garlic
- 1 onion, chopped (about 2 cups)
- 3 celery stalks, sliced into small pieces (about 2 cups)
- ½ cup white wine
- 6-7 new potatoes, washed and diced (I prefer Yukon Golds)
- 1½ teaspoons dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon Tarragon
- 4 cups broth (I used Salmon broth but chicken chicken or veg would work)
- 3 cups cream ( I used heavy cream)
- 1 tablespoon flour
- 12-16 ounces smoked salmon (mine was hot smoked salmon which has a jerky-like texture and is already fully cooked)
- 1 tspn Hot Smoked Paprika (optional)
- Melt the butter in a large pan over medium high heat. Add the onion and celery. Saute until fragrant and soft. Add the white wine to deglaze the pan and get all that flavor, I mean the brown bits up in the mix.
- Add the potatoes, thyme, tarragon and 2 cups of the broth. Simmer until the potatoes are fork tender. Whisk the flour into the milk and add to the pan to help with thickening – (more flour = more thickening). Add 1 cup of broth and paprika then simmer for 5-10 minutes or until the soup starts thickening just slightly.
- Add the cream and some more smoked salmon just before serving. If you let the salmon simmer with the soup for too long, it will get mushy. Taste, adjust, and add the last cup of broth to thin out the consistency of the soup as desired. Season with salt and pepper.