Thursday, November 21, 2013

Recipe: Smoked salmon chowder

If you are anything like me, you are always looking for new ways to prepare the fish that you bring home. I have a few "go to" recipes that I use regularly, but when I'm bringing home a lot of fish it's nice to have variety. I am a huge advocate for never keeping a fish that you aren't going to either eat yourself, or give away to friends or family that you know will enjoy it. I personally release ALL wild Steelhead, and never take home a fish my family and I won't eat. When you do catch a legal fish that you know will get used, by all means take it home and enjoy that freshly caught, organic, healthy GMO free meat that is full of Omega-3 fatty acids. My wife Rikki actually came up with this recipe after I requested she make a chowder with some of the smoked salmon I had in the freezer. I hope you enjoy it because I know we definitely did!
This recipe is great because it uses smoked salmon. In my opinion all species of salmon (and trout) can be made to taste good in a smoker. This is important because on odd years here in Washington State we catch a lot of Pinks and then later in the season (every year) we catch a lot of Chum salmon. Although these two species of salmon are not known to be the greatest table fare, they are commonly kept for their eggs, but if you smoke them they can both be made to taste very good. If you don't already have a batch of smoked salmon laying around and you need to smoke up a batch first, I would highly suggest you check out this smoked salmon recipe, especially if you don't already have a favorite brine.
1 cup of smoked salmon cut into small cubes
10 cups water
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup flour
1 cup corn (we use frozen but a can would do)
2 stalks of celery
1/2 medium onion
2 garlic cloves
6 small red potatoes (use only 3 russets)
4 tbsp olive oil (or coconut oil)
1 tsp pepper (we like Lawry's seasoned pepper)
1 tsp salt  (we like Johnny's seasoning salt)
5 tsp chicken bouillon (Better than bouillon brand)
2 bay leaves
2 chopped basil leaves
Prep time: 30-45min
Cook time: 1 hour
Serving size: up to 6 healthy servings (we make large quantities to freeze or have leftover)
1. In a large pot (we normally use our dutch oven), heat olive oil. Add onion and garlic and sauté until golden. Season with pepper and salt. Pour in heavy cream (any milk will work too) and stir. Slowly add cup of flour and whisk in to thicken, bring to a boil. Whisk again before adding next ingredients to smooth lumps.
2. In a separate pan, bring 6 cups of water to a boil, add bouillon (bouillon to water ratio will not match recommendation on jar). Add potatoes to cream mixture, bring to a light boil. Slowly pour in chicken bouillon mixture. Combine chopped celery, salmon, and corn. Include minced fresh basil leaves and whole bay leaves. I add the final four cups of water based on the desired consistency, I am for equal parts broth and ingredients mixture. If you don't want so much soup, you can omit these four cups of water and half the potatoes.
3. Once everything has been added to Dutch oven, cover and simmer  for 30 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. I don't use many seasonings since the smoked salmon is so flavorful. Cover and simmer for 30 more minutes. Garnish with green onions, salt, pepper, and serve hot.

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