The perfect chowder - is there anything better?
Well, okay maybe there are some things that are better that the perfect chowder but when you FEEL like having chowder is there anything better than a perfect version of it? No way.
So in my search for something warm and satisfying and easy to prepare I came across this recipe in Epicurious.com for Smoked Salmon Chowder. I like salmon. I like chowder. I like recipes that have such awesome reviews. So it was decided: I was going to make this chowder.
And so I did. And it is AMAZING. I am writing this a mere 1/2 hour after eating it and I am in love. It's hearty and creamy without being overwhelming, has hints of salmon but not enough to make it "seafoody" and the flavors and textures just work PERFECTLY. I tell you, this particular chowder has replaced clam chowder in my heart and I do love clam chowder.
I made a few changes to allow for the fact that 1) the two markets I went to had NO leeks so I substitute in onion and some extra garlic. and 2) I used some cornstarch to thicken it up a bit since I enjoy a thick chowder. And it came out BEAUTIFULLY. So if you want the original recipe click on the link above, if not then see below for my tweakings.
And here we go.
Smoked Salmon Chowder
1 tbsp olive oil
1 large sweet onion, chopped.
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 large russet potato, peeled and cubed
1 large stalk celery, chopped
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
2 cups vegetable broth
2 tbsp tomato paste
2 cups 1% milk (or whatever kind of milk you use)
8 ounces flaked smoked salmon
1/2 cup heavy cream
4 tbsp corn starch
Heat the oil in a large pot over low heat. Add onions and garlic and saute for about 5 minutes.
Add the potato, celery, salt and pepper and cook over medium heat for 2-3 minutes, stirring.
Add the broth and simmer until potato is tender, about 15 minutes.
Add the tomato paste and milk, then the salmon. Simmer for a few minutes (Don't boil or the milk will separate)
As it simmers, stir in cream and cook for 1-2 minutes. Stir in corn starch and cook on medium-low for another 2-3 minute.
Remove from heat and serve with crusty bread or oyster crackers!
(in my faux Tupperware)
One more note: I didn't buy one of those packages of a whole smoked salmon filet - I bought a tub of smoked salmon BITS. I know, "Bits" is a little off putting but for 1) they came in 8 oz tubs which is exactly what I need for this recipe where as the filets came in 3 or 4 oz packages so I would have had to buy two and 2) They were about $8 cheaper. I checked with the deli guy and he said it was the exact same salmon treated the same way as the filets, just in smaller, bit form. So if you see the "Bits" in the smoked salmon section of your supermarket be ye not afraid. The bits kind of rule.