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How to Make a Wild Salmon Chowder

Chowder

Red, yellow and green. It’s not too often you get such unique colors in a chowder! In this wild salmon chowder recipe, yellow corn, green peas and the deep rich red flesh of a wild-caught salmon (as opposed to the pale pink of farm-raised salmon) make for a striking presentation. Most importantly, it’s delicious!

wild salmon chowder

I really encourage you to buy wild-caught salmon as opposed to Atlantic salmon. Did you know that salmon labeled “Atlantic” is always farm-raised? Unfortunately, farmed Atlantic salmon has negative environmental impacts. Wild Atlantic salmon are classified as endangered species and are therefore forbidden from any commercial or recreational fishing. With so many people eating salmon today, it’s important to shift our awareness to the difference between farm-raised and wild and to support our wild salmon fisheries on the west coast. 

I’m including this recipe for a wild salmon chowder in my next cookbook, New England Soups from the Sea (due out in the spring of 2022). Now admittedly, because wild salmon is not local to New England, it won’t be a true New England chowder. But salmon is so delicious and so widely consumed that an exception needs to be made. And it makes a unique chowder not just in its colors but in flavor too, especially with dill and a little sour cream.

Yes, sour cream! Though it may seem unusual in a chowder, it adds a nice touch of extra rich flavor. However, it’s an optional ingredient. To get a sense of its flavor, simply scoop out a small amount from the main pot and mix in just a dab of sour cream. If you like it, add some back into the main pot. Alternatively, let each person add it to taste in their individual bowl. 

wild salmon chowder

Wild Salmon Chowder

Peas, corn, dill, sour cream and, of course, wild salmon, make this a unique type of chowder both in colors and taste.

Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Servings 6 people
Author Craig Fear

Ingredients

  • 4 ounces salt pork or fatty slab bacon or about 4 large strips, roughly diced into ½ inch pieces
  • 2 TBSP unsalted butter if needed
  • 1 large leek green leafy part removed, white part cut in half lengthwise, diced into ½ inch pieces
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3-4 sprigs thyme
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • 4 cups fish stock
  • 1 pound potatoes chopped into small cubes
  • ½ cup peas
  • ½ cup corn kernels
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 pounds wild salmon fillets cut into large chunks, about 3-4 inch pieces
  • 1 cup fresh dill loosely packed, or more
  • 1-2 cups heavy cream
  • ¼ cup sour cream or more, optional

Optional Seasonings, to taste

  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Salt pork cracklings or bacon bits
  • Sour cream
  • Fresh dill chopped
  • Fresh chives chopped

Instructions

  1. Heat the bacon or salt pork in a medium-sized stock pot over low heat until a few tablespoons render out. Raise the heat to medium and brown the meatier pieces, being careful not to burn. Remove the browned pieces with a slotted spoon but leave the fat in the pot. Before serving the chowder, you can reheat the crispy browned cracklings from the salt pork or the bits from the bacon and add them as a topping.
  2. Add the leeks, bay leaves and thyme and saute about 5 minutes until leeks are softened. Add butter, if needed, for additional cooking fat.
  3. Add wine and simmer for another 3-4 minutes or until the wine is reduced by about half.
  4. Add fish stock and bring to a boil.
  5. Add potatoes, cover pot and simmer for 10-12 minutes until potatoes are cooked through.
  6. Add the peas and corn and simmer another 3-4 minutes. Salt the chowder, to taste.
  7. Add the salmon and simmer gently for a few minutes. Remove the pot from the heat, cover and let it sit for 5 to 10 more minutes or the salmon is cooked through and flakes easily. Gently break apart the salmon and mix into the chowder.
  8. Add 1 cup of heavy cream, optional sour cream and dill and taste. Add up to one more cup of heavy cream, if desired. Add additional dill and sour cream, to taste.
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How to Make a Wild Salmon Chowder
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About the Author

Craig Fear is the creator of Fearless Eating and the author of three books, The 30-Day Heartburn Solution, Fearless Broths and Soups and The Thai Soup Secret. After years helping clients with digestive issues, Craig decided to pursue writing full-time. He intends to write many more books on broths and soups from around the world! Click here to learn more about Craig.

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