Monday, March 4, 2013

Smoked Salmon Corn Chowder

I love a good chowder, especially in the winter. It is just the perfect thing for this time of year. The days are getting longer, so we are spending more time outside. Something warm and hearty really hits the spot. I used to make a lot of clam chowder when I lived in Washington State, there was a great vendor at the farmer's market that sold clams. Since moving to Fairbanks I haven't made any chowder at all. That is because when I worked in town I would get chowder for lunch at least once a week. It wasn't the best chowder, but when you are eating it regularly, you just don't feel like making it at home too. Now that I only go to town once a week, or so I don't eat much (any) chowder anymore. My two favorites at the local place I visit are the smoked salmon chowder and the halibut corn chowder. It was always a toss up because I really like smoked salmon, but sometimes the corn would make me lean toward the halibut. The great thing when you make your own chowder is that you can put whatever you want in it. So, when I saw this recipe a couple weeks ago for smoked salmon chowder I knew right away that I would have to add corn. This is chowder exactly how I like it, not too thin, but not thick and gloppy like the restaurant stuff either. I like mine with a good serving of crackers as well. I prefer fresh herbs, but if you don't have access to them you can use dried instead, just make sure and use much less than you would of fresh. I'm pretty excited to have a chowder recipe that I am really happy with, maybe when I go back to work I can finally get in the routine of packing my lunch from home. If so, this chowder will go in the regular rotation.
One more thing, the guy at my local liquor store gave me a great tip when buying wine for this chowder. I don't know why I never thought of it before, but when I said I was buying the wine for soup, he directed me to the small bottles of wine that come in the 4 packs. No, it's not the best drinking wine, but it is far better than the "cooking wine" you find in the regular part of the grocery store. The little bottle was just the right size, and there was enough selection that I was actually able to find a half way decent wine for the chowder. I know you aren't supposed to cook with any wine you wouldn't drink. At the same time I don't really want to pour a bottle of good drinking wine into a pot of soup either. 
What about you, what are your favorite chowder ingredients? Do you like yours with corn? Do you get upset when there are too many potatoes?  Do you like it creamy or brothy? Finally, red or white clam chowder? I must admit that I am sorely disappointed when I order clam chowder and it turns out to be the red stuff.
Smoked Salmon Corn Chowder
adapted from Barefeet in the Kitchen, who adapted it from Big Dude's Eclectic Ramblings, who adapted it from Boundary Bay Brewery! (whew)

2 slices bacon, diced small
1/2 pound red potatoes, skin left on, diced into 1/2" pieces, about 2 cups
1 medium yellow onion, diced
3 carrots, thinly sliced, or cut into half moons if large, about 1 1/2 cups
1/2 cup celery, small dice
4 cloves garlic, smashed and minced
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup clam juice
3/4 cup white wine
2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 1/2 cups milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 cup frozen, whole kernel corn
8-10 ounces hot smoked Wild Alaska Salmon, flaked, about 1 1/2 cups
1 tablespoon fresh dill, chopped

In a large, heavy bottomed dutch oven or similar pot add bacon and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally until crispy.  Stir in  the onion, garlic, carrots, and celery. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Cook, stirring occasionally until the onions have softened and become translucent. Add the thyme, potatoes, clam juice, and wine.

Simmer until the potatoes are tender, about 15-20 minutes. Whisk together 1/2 cup milk and the flour and then add it to the pot. Allow to simmer for 1-2 minutes.

Add the remaining milk and cream. Season again with salt and pepper to taste. If it looks like your chowder is going to be too thick for your taste, add a little water at this point. Bring to a very low simmer and add the corn, salmon, and dill. Cook until just heated, the corn and salmon should be heated through. Serve immediately.
If re-heating leftover chowder, heat over very low heat to avoid scorching cream.


5 comments:

  1. This soup looks like just the thing for me tonight, the weather has turned a little colder, but here in California the trees are actually flowering! I love fresh salmon in corn chowder, but the ultimate was when I was living in New England last year and I could get fresh lobster meat! I bet the smokiness of the salmon really flavors the whole soup.

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  2. Holy moly that looks good. I love salmon...I love corn...I love chowders...I'm pretty sure this is exactly what I've been looking for my whole culinary life. ;)

    xoxo,

    Jules of Canines & Couture
    www.caninesandcouture.com

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  3. I bet the corn was awesome with the chowder, Nicole! Your photos are stunning too. I just might have giggled at the adaptations though. If I go make this again and wind up adding corn, would that equal Nicole, via myself, via Larry and then the Brewery? ha ha. I love when all of our creativity combines like this.

    Have a blessed weekend!

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  4. The chowder looks great, but I love that tureen! Can you reveal the source?

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    Replies
    1. It is made by Mary Gebhard, a local Fairbanks artist. She sells her work at the Tanana Valley Farmer's market.

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