Salmon Chowder

A few weeks ago I made Chris Kimball’s Supermarket Cod Chowder. It was well-balanced, but lack the bold flavor that I bought from a restaurant during my recent trip to Seattle. So today I made the recipe again, but replace the cod with Salmon. I took some additional steps to boost the flavor too; replacing the plain water with home-made fish stock that I made from the head, trimmings and bones of the fish. Also, instead of butter I sauted the onions of bacon fat, and sprinkled the crumbled bacon on top of the finished soup. The result was fabulous; 4-1/2 stars.

Salmon more flavorful; I wish I had more bacon


  1. If you are only interested in using the filet; the $4/lb whole salmon yields the identical cost of $7/lb for filet. The remaining $3/lb is the head, tail, bones and other non-extractable meat. In this case, it didn’t go to waste as I used it to make my own fish stock.
  2. To make my homemade fish stock I used 8 cups of water, but very little boiled away. Next time I will use no more than 5 or 6 cups to concentrate the flavor even more.
  3. After some research and wondering if Ivar’s used red food coloring to make the chowder pink, I realized they must add tomato paste.

Rating: 5 stars.
Cost: $25 for 10 bowls.
How much work? Medium.
How big of a mess?  Medium.
Start time 5:00 PM. Finish time 6:30 PM.

Chris Kimball’s original recipe is here. The descriptions of how I prepared this today are given below:

4 tablespoons butter
1 medium yellow onion, 1/4″ dice
1 teaspoon dried thyme or 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
2 stalks celery, small dice
1/4 cup flour
3 tablespoons tomato paste
3 cloves garlic, minced
4 cups Fish stock
1 pound Yukon gold or Red potatoes, diced
1/3 cup capers and their brine
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 bay leaves
6 ounces shrimp (chopped or use salad shrimp)
1 lb cut smoked salmon, roughly diced into small pieces (or 1/4 teaspoon liquid smoke)
4 ounce cream cheese
1-1/2 cups whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon hot sauce
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

  1. Dice your celery and onions. Prepare your garlic cloves and mince your fresh thyme.
  2. Melt 4 tablespoons of butter in a large Dutch oven set over medium burner. Add diced onions and celery. Sauté for 4 minutes until softened, but not browned. Add flour and tomato paste and cook for 2 minutes. Add minced garlic and cook for 30 seconds.
  3. Add 4 cups of fish stock and bring up to a simmer.  Meanwhile peel and cut your potatoes into 1/2″ dice.
  4. Increase heat to medium-high burner, adding the diced potatoes and capers. After bringing up to a simmer, reduce heat and cook, covered, for about 30 minutes until the potatoes are tender and begin to break apart.
  5. Remove the bay leaf; discard. Blend half of soup to thicken.
    Add the chopped shrimp and stir in the cream cheese, milk and heavy cream; bring back up to a simmer.
  6. Remove the skin from the salmon by laying the salmon fillet flat on cutting board, skin-side-down and use a boning or chef’s knife to peel the skin away from the fillet. Slice salmon into 8 to 10 equal sized pieces.
  7. Add the fish to the pot. Remove from heat, cover, and allow to stand for 5 more minutes.
  8. Stir chowder gently to break fish up into large pieces. Season with additional salt and pepper according to your taste. Serve immediately, garnishing with minced chives, crumbled bacon bits, or oyster crackers (Krispy is the preferred brand).


About 2 feet long, weighing almost 6 pounds

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