Smoked Salmon Chowder may become one of the best recipes I’ve made so far. This dish will impress even the most discerning palate and can be made to perfection by any level of expertise. If you like clam chowder, you will LOVE this. If you like salmon and don’t care for clam chowder, you will LOVE this. But the best reason to LOVE this recipe? It’s so flavorful and could not be easier to make.
The base for this chowder starts with sliced leeks, crushed garlic and chopped celery. Then creamy russet potatoes are added along with a mixture of vegetable broth and milk that binds all the flavors together for that yum factor we all crave. And last but not least, flaky smoked wild salmon adds richness and tender texture. It does require a little heavy cream at the end too, but how can you go wrong with that?
This chowder was so easy that I was skeptical it could yield the complex flavors I was hoping for. My first go-round with the original recipe did not offer enough of the delicious broth for the last couple of servings, so I had to make a few adjustments until each bowl had the right balance of chunky ingredients plus enough flavorful broth to accommodate several dips of hearty bread.
The natural oils from the smoked salmon infuse into the broth for uncompromising flavor. Serve with extra salmon sprinkled on top and some fresh chives if you like. I’ve made this so many times now and even a few times in the same week to adjust and develop the recipe. This process usually makes my taste-testers tired of a recipe when I’ve made it so much in a short period, but this was the first time they welcomed the same dish on even the third night within a week.
By now it’s obvious that I really want you to try this recipe, because once you do you won’t be disappointed. Cozy up to Smoked Salmon Chowder on a cold winter night or serve it as the star of your next holiday get-together.
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 3 medium leeks, white and light green parts only, rinsed and sliced (about 3 cups)
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed and minced
- 1 large russet potato, peeled and cubed
- ½ cup chopped celery heart, including leaves
- ¾ teaspoons kosher salt
- ¾ teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
- 3 cups vegetable broth
- 3 Tablespoons tomato paste
- 3 cups milk (any fat content, I used whole milk)
- 8 ounces smoked salmon, flaked (Not the lox style salmon. Use the thicker filet looking salmon)
- ¾ cup heavy cream
- Fresh chives, chopped for garnish, optional
- Extra fresh ground pepper for garnish
- Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pot over medium-low heat. Add the leeks and garlic and saute them for 2 minutes.
- Add the potato, celery, salt, and pepper and cook over medium heat for about 1 minute, stirring constantly.
- Add the broth, cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove lid and continue to simmer until potato is tender, about 5 minutes more.
- Add the tomato paste and milk, then the salmon, reserving a few flakes to decorate top of soup. Continue to heat soup for a few minutes but don't let it come to a boil or the milk will separate.
- As the chowder heats, stir in the cream and continue to heat through.
- Remove from heat, garnish with chives, crack more pepper over the top, and serve.
- This soup is still delicious one and even two days later which is not always the case with fish recipes.
- Cook's note: This chowder is delicious with asparagus tips added in at the same time as the tomato paste and milk. I add about 1 cup.
Recipe adapted from Epicurious.