Saturday, March 1, 2014

Salmon Chowder

We've eaten this chowder twice since Christmas Eve and every time I forget to take a picture.  On this occasion I remembered to take a picture the day after when we were eating the leftovers for lunch. It doesn't do the chowder justice

This is one of those soups that is 1. delicious 2. easy to make and can be mostly made ahead and 3. works for when you need a nice dinner, but don't have a lot of time to cook.  It's a lighter chowder so it won't leave you feeling super heavy and overloaded with milk and cream when you are finished. We've made it for Christmas Eve several years in a row now and everyone loves it! 

Salmon Chowder
Serves: 6

1 14 pounds salmon
kosher salt
brown sugar
wood chips
16 oz frozen corn
4 slices good quality bacon
1 medium onion, diced
34 cup dry white wine
2 cups fish stock
2 teaspoons fresh thyme or 12 teaspoon dried
tabasco sauce
5 medium red potatoes, washed and diced
1 cup whipping cream
2 cups milk (2%)
14 cup fresh chives, minced

For the salmon: Rub the salmon with some kosher salt and brown sugar (there is no magic amount, but you want the salmon to be covered with brown sugar and salt).  Soak the wood chips in water and start the BBQ.  Once the BBQ is nice and hot add the wood chips (we wrap ours in a tin foil pack and place it on the coals).  Cook the salmon until just barely finished (or a little under done) - it will finish cooking in the soup.  When the salmon is cool enough to handle break it into small pieces.  Place the salmon in a bowl and refrigerate until ready to use.

For the chowder: In a dutch oven or large stock pot cook the bacon, over medium heat, until cooked all the way through.  Remove the bacon and set aside on a plate lined with paper towels.  Pour off some of the grease until you have a thin layer left in the pan. Add the onion and cook until soft, but not browning, about 5-7 minutes. Add the wine and boil over medium heat-high heat until reduced by half, about 3 minutes.  Add the fish stock, thyme and a dash of tabasco.  Bring to a simmer.  Add the potatoes, reduce the heat to medium and simmer until the potatoes are almost tender when pierced with a fork, about 8 minutes. Add the corn, salmon, cream and milk (Be careful not to boil the chowder once you've added the milk or it might curdle) .  Cook until the corn is almost tender, but still crunchy, about 3-5 minutes longer. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Serve immediately, garnished with bacon and chives.

Note: smoking the salmon on the BBQ is preferred, but if you are pressed for time or don't have a BBQ baking the salmon in the oven is fine.

To make ahead: Prepare the salmon per directions above.  You can make the chowder several hours ahead up to the point of adding the corn, salmon, cream and milk.  Do this last step right before you are ready to serve.

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