November is here, and with it comes colder weather, shorter days, and yet another installment of the Secret Recipe Club.
This month, my assignment was the Saturday Evening Pot, a blog co-authored by The Chef and The Lucky Wife. Coincidentally enough, they re-created my Pumpkin and Black Bean Chili last month, so it was kind of cool to be able to return the favour so soon.
There were a few interesting options when I checked out their recipe index last weekend looking for something to make, but it was the Salmon Chowder recipe that caught my eye.
It had been cold and wet and grey for several days at that point, and a steaming hot bowl of soup sounded like the perfect antidote to the miserable weather. Maybe it’s just me, but soup always seems to taste twice as good on rainy days.
The recipe was quick and easy to make, and since it’s based on canned salmon instead of fresh, there was nothing I needed that wasn’t already in my pantry or fridge. Gotta love the kind of recipe you can throw together with ingredients you already have on hand!
(If you’re a little skeptical of canned salmon, it’s worth springing for the pricier brands – I’m a fan of the Raincoast Trading boneless skinless wild sockeye salmon, which is a revelation if you’re used to the bargain-brand stuff, and is sustainably fished to boot. It’s still not as good as fresh, but it’s surprisingly good for a last-minute meal.)
As always, I made a few adaptations to suit my own tastes.
I gave it a semi-healthy makeover by using half-and-half instead of heavy cream, and added a little flour-based roux at the beginning to help make up for the thickness the heavy cream would have normally added. And because I like my chowder quite chunky, I only used half of the broth and cream called for in the original.
Other than that, though, it’s pretty much unchanged.
The verdict? It definitely hit the spot, but I’ll probably make a few more adjustments to this recipe the next time around to suit my tastes. I’m thinking maybe a little diced celery at the beginning and a sprig of fresh thyme.
I’m also really tempted to see if it would come out even better with fresh salmon (after all, a good-quality brand of canned salmon will do in a pinch, but you still can’t beat the fresh stuff), though it wouldn’t qualify as a “quick” chowder any more.
Still, even without those additional tweaks, this was a perfect dish for the kind of cold afternoon when venturing outside to the grocery store is a most unappealing prospect indeed. Take that, November!
This quick salmon chowder is based on canned salmon, which makes it perfect for a busy weeknight – all you need to whip up a satisfying meal is a few other pantry staples. If you prefer, you can substitute 1 cup of leftover cooked salmon chopped into bite-sized pieces.
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp butter
- 4 strips bacon, chopped
- 2 small onions, finely diced
- 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
- 2 tbsp flour
- 3 cups chicken stock
- 2 (6 oz) cans boneless skinless salmon, drained
- 1 large Russet potato, roughly diced
- 2 cups half-and-half cream
- 1/2 tsp Old Bay seasoning
- 2 cups frozen whole kernel corn
- In a large stockpot set over medium-high heat, melt the butter and olive oil together. Add the diced bacon and fry for about 5-7 minutes, or until browned and crispy. Stir in the onion and garlic, and saute for 2-3 minutes, or until the onion is soft and translucent. Add flour and cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly.
- Whisk in the chicken stock. Bring to a simmer, then reduce the heat to low.
- Stir in the salmon, potatoes and corn, and simmer for about 15-20 minutes, or until the potatoes are fork-tender.
- Stir in the cream, and let simmer for 2-3 minutes to warm through. Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper to taste, then spoon into bowls and serve.