Salmon Chowder

It’s been cold. I mean freezing cold for over a week now with snow and sleet and all the things you might expect, or not expect for Portland. Winters here just aren’t normally like this. We’ve had three snowfalls so far this winter with more on the way in a couple days. Granted we don’t get a lot as it generally warms up and the rain washes it away, but nevertheless there have been quite a few “stocking up” trips to the store this year. The one thing that I do appreciate in cold weather is soup, or chowder, or stew. It can be the perfect meal. 

I made this Salmon Chowder over the weekend and it was just as good as the last time I made it. This recipe includes smoked bacon, but if you don’t want to use bacon I would switch out the fresh salmon and use smoked salmon. The smoky flavors in this chowder are what really bring the flavors together. Another plus about this recipe is that it’s a one-pot-cooking dish. Our dishwasher decided stop working last week and once that happens you start thinking about every pot, pan, and dish you’re about to use. We have a new one arriving later this week and I can’t wait. 

One more thing I want to mention here is that Salmon is a good choice for winter chowders. If you live in the north without much sun, like Portland, you are most likely not getting much, if any, Vitamin D. Salmon is one of the best ways to get it in the way of food. You will want to get wild salmon as it has higher content of Vitamin D than farmed salmon, which only has 25% of the Vitamin D you would find in wild salmon. Even with that I take Vitamin D3 supplements everyday. I’m not one to promote specific vitamins or anything like that in this space, but I would recommend getting your vitamin D levels checked the next time you have a visit to the doctor. Most people are deficient because even during the summer months you can be deficient if you are using sunscreen. Ah, summer, sunshine, seems so far away right now as the ice slowly drips off the trees. Until then enjoy some soups and stay warm :)

Salmon Chowder

  • 3 slices thick smoked bacon, chopped in 1/2" pieces
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 2 large Russet potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 cup half-and-half
  • 1 1/2 pound skinless salmon fillet, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried dill
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • Ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh chives for garnish

Brown bacon in a deep, heavy-bottomed sauce pot over medium heat until crisp, about 5 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside. Cook onion and celery in the bacon fat in the same pot until onion is translucent. Add potatoes and cook about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally; do not brown. Add carrots and broth and bring to a boil, and then reduce heat and simmer until vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes.

Add milk, half-and-half, salmon, parsley, dill and pepper. Simmer over low heat 5 to 8 minutes or until fish is cooked through and liquid is steaming, but not boiling. Transfer to serving bowls and garnish with crispy bacon pieces and chives or parsley.

Adapted from Whole Foods recipe