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Recipes

Smoked Salmon Chowder

Thick, creamy and easy-to-make, this chowder is a delicious, piping-hot way to warm up a chilly day.

November 6, 2017

When the days get shorter and icy winds blow, it’s time for a comforting bowl of soup. Served piping hot with a side of crusty bread, thick and creamy smoked salmon chowder will chase the cold away.

Serves four to six people. 

Ingredients

  • 3/4 to 1 pound good quality smoked, local salmon — any kind except lox-style — broken into large pieces
  • 3/4 pound small red or Yukon gold potatoes
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, divided
  • 1 cup yellow onion, finely diced
  • 2 stalks celery, finely diced
  • 4 to 5 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 small carrot, finely shredded
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more for garnish
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • One 8-ounce bottle clam juice
  • 1 cup chicken broth or water
  • 3 tablespoons double-concentrated sun-dried tomato paste (from a tube)
  • 3 cups half-and-half
  • 6 to 8 ounces cream cheese, cut into cubes
  • 1/4 cup small capers, drained
  • Salt to desired taste
  • Tabasco sauce or your favorite hot sauce
  • Chopped fresh parsley

Preparation

Boil potatoes (skins on) until they just start to become fork-tender (they will cook longer in the stew). Drain and set aside. Dice them into bite-sized pieces when they are cool enough to handle.

While the potatoes cook, melt 3 tablespoons of the butter over medium heat in a large, heavy soup pot. Add onions and celery and cook until onions are translucent, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and grated carrots and cook about 1 minute longer, until garlic is fragrant. Season with pepper.

Add the remaining butter (5 tablespoons) to the pot. When it melts, sprinkle the flour over through a sieve and stir to incorporate. Cook for about 1 minute, then add clam juice, chicken broth, tomato paste and cubed potatoes to the pan. Bring mixture up to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Stir in the half-and-half, cream cheese, capers and smoked salmon. Bring chowder back to a simmer, and season to taste with a few drops of Tabasco sauce and salt, if needed (the salt in the capers and smoked salmon might be enough). If chowder is too thick, thin with a little chicken broth or even more half-and-half.

Because all salmon is different, this chowder will never turn out exactly the same way twice. You may want to tweak the flavor by adding a little caper brine, more cream cheese or more tomato paste — even a drop of brandy.

Serve hot, garnished with chopped parsley and a few dots of Tabasco over the top.


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