Teaching myself to cook, one recipe at a time.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Northwestern Salmon Chowder

A while back, I got an invitation for an email recipe exchange. It was basically a chain letter ("Send this on to 10 friends, good things will happen if you do!"), but I participated because it's always fun to get new recipes and to see what my friends make in the kitchen.

I received a recipe for Northwestern Salmon Chowder from a friend of a friend, someone who I've met but never actually had a conversation with, and have been wanting to make it ever since. It's not the kind of recipe that I'd ever pick out of a recipe book for myself, but having the perspective of "Someone else loves this so much that it's the one recipe she chose to pass along," I decided to give it a try. When Andy and I made our Sunday night excursion to our local grocery store last night, I finally picked up ingredients for the soup.

Here they are:

K.L., the recipe source, wrote "1/2 cup chopped celery, onion, green pepper, red pepper." I took that to mean a half cup of each. I'm not a big fan of big veggie chunks, so I used my food processor to get everything finely diced.


The recipe said to use a "large saucepan," but I've had to transfer soups from dutch ovens to larger pots almost every time I've taken a recipe literally, so I decided to start off with a large gumbo pot. In retrospect, totally unnecessary, but oh well.

In 3 tablespoons of butter, I sauteed the chopped veggies with a clove of minced garlic. I had full cloves, but they were looking rubbery and shrunken so I cheated and just used a teaspoon of garlic from a large jar in the fridge.


Next, I needed 1 cup each of diced potatoes (uncooked) and shredded carrots. I'm embarrassed about this part, though! I am one of those people with a severe perception problem when it comes to selecting the right amount of uncooked pasta to make the desired amount, and apparently this perception problem extends to not knowing how many carrots to shred to make 1 cup. So I overestimated and ended up with LOTS of shredded carrots, which I will now have to look up a new recipe for.


And my potatoes:

I threw the carrots and potatoes in with the sauteed veggies after they'd softened up a bit, along with some low-sodium chicken broth, salt, and pepper. I would have put the dill weed in at this point, if I'd read the recipe more carefully, but forgot until later. And the whole thing simmered on low for a good 40 minutes.


In the meantime, I decided to explore the canned salmon phenomenon. The recipe had called for "fully cooked salmon chunks or 1 can salmon." I love salmon and figured that fresh would be much yummier, but last week's $10 salmon fillet from the fish counter at the grocery store was fresh in my mind and I went with canned. I had never bought canned salmon before, but figured it'd be just like canned tuna, except with salmon. Turns out, it's basically a fillet or two, complete with skins and bones, stuffed in a can! So I dumped it into a bowl and picked through it to remove the skins and (hopefully) all of the bones.


In doing so, I discovered something else. Siberian huskies will ALWAYS know when there is salmon nearby, and they will make it very clear that they are interested in it. When I felt two pairs of eyes burning me from behind, I turned around and found this:


(Unfortunately for them, I am mean and they were turned away!)

After the soup had simmered for about 40 minutes, I finally added in the forgotten dill weed, along with a can of creamed style corn, 2 cups half and half, and the salmon. I let it simmer for about 15 more minutes


Finally, it was ready to serve! I have never actually had salmon chowder before, so I wasn't quite sure what to expect, but it came out like this:


And after I'd gotten my fill, I had plenty to put aside in the freezer to have for lunch another day. I always put my soups in little containers that can be frozen individually, as I find it's much easier to go back and have more when you don't need to thaw the entire batch. Now I just have to worry about whether heating these up at work will violate the "No smelly food in the microwave" rule.


And that was my salmon chowder! For anyone who is interested in giving it a shot:

Northwestern Salmon Chowder
1/2 cup each of chopped celery, onion, green pepper, and red pepper
1 clove garlic, minced
3 Tbsp butter
1 large can chicken broth (I prefer low-sodium)
1 cup uncooked, peeled, diced potatoes
1 cup shredded carrots
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/4-3/4 tsp dill weed (I went for a happy medium and used 1/2 tsp)
1 can creamed style corn
2 cups half and half
1 3/4 cup-2 cups fully cooked salmon chunks or 1 can (14 3/4 oz) salmon, drained, flaked, bones and skin removed.

In a large saucepan, saute onion, celery, green pepper, red pepper, and garlic in butter until tender. Add broth, potatoes, carrots, salt, pepper, and dill; bring to a boil, reduce heat; cover and simmer for 40 minutes or until the vegetables are nearly tender. Stir in the corn, cream, and salmon. Simmer for 15 minutes or until heated through.

Yields 8 servings.

Let me know how it goes!


  1. Extra carrots are great for carrot cake or just to save for salads! :)

    Love the blog so far! xoxo Erika

  2. I have frozen grated zucchini before. I bet you can freeze grated carrots!