Love fish chowder? Then you’re going to love this salmon chowder recipe! It’s a hearty, one-pot dinner that’s perfect all year long. The recipe is easy to prepare and bursting with flavor. It highlights fresh salmon, bacon, and yukon gold potatoes.
If you’ve spent any time in New England, you know how seriously the locals take their fish chowder. Everyone has a secret recipe. To make things even more interesting, these recipes are rarely written down, and they often don’t rely on amounts. It’s “a handful of this” and “a little bit of that.”
However, with some time and practice, there’s no reason you can’t create your own “secret fish chowder recipe,” regardless of where you currently live. When it comes to fish, I often gravitate toward salmon because it’s my favorite.
Today is no exception! I’ve created a salmon chowder recipe that you’re welcome to use as a starting point for other seafood chowder creations. Or you can, you know, enjoy it as is.
Using this recipe as a fish chowder base
- This recipe can easily be modified to work with other fish such as cod (any firm white fish will work).
- You can even turn this into New England clam chowder! Simply swap out 1 cup of the stock for an 8-ounce bottle of clam juice, and replace the salmon with two 6-1/2 ounce cans of chopped clams (undrained).
Salmon chowder tips
- For a lighter chowder, swap the half-and-half (or some of it) for whole milk.
- I remove the bacon and then add it back at the end to make it less chewy. However, it’s still going soften up once it sits in the chowder, especially if you have leftovers. If you like a bit more texture, skip adding the bacon to the chowder in Step 4 and instead add it as a garnish with each serving along with the chives in Step 5.
- For the best flavor results, use seafood/fish stock, preferably homemade. If you don’t want to make your own, local seafood shops often carry it. The store bought versions will work fine; just use low-sodium so you can control the salt level. Chicken stock will also work fine if that’s what you have.
- While I recommend yukon gold, you can substitute other waxy types of potatoes. I recommend avoiding starchier varieties like russet potatoes, as they don’t hold their shape quite as well and may add a grainy texture to the chowder if they break down.
More Salmon Recipes
- 4 slices thick-cut bacon, chopped
- 1 medium or large yellow onion, chopped
- 2 ribs celery, chopped
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 cups seafood or chicken stock, either homemade or low-sodium
- 1 quart half-and-half (or 50% whole milk + 50% heavy cream)
- 2 pounds yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubed
- 1 1/2 - 2 pounds good quality salmon, trimmed and skinned, cut into 1-inch cubes
- 1 1/2 - 2 cups fresh or frozen corn
- 2 sprigs thyme
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt, or to taste
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper, or to taste
- Fresh chives, chopped (for serving)
Place a Dutch oven or heavy-bottom saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the bacon, and slowly increase the heat to medium as fat renders into the pan. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the bacon is lightly browned and crisp, about 5-7 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the bacon to a paper towel-lined plate, and discard all but one tablespoon of the fat (I like to save the extra for cooking eggs).
Add the onions and celery to the pan, and cook until soft and slightly brown around the edges, 5-6 minutes. If the bottom of the pan ever becomes too dark like it’s about to burn, add 1-2 tablespoons of water, then use a spatula to scrape the brown bits from the bottom of the pan, stirring them back in with the vegetables (this is called deglazing), then reduce the heat slightly.
Add the flour and toss with the vegetables to coat. Cook for about 2 minutes while stirring, then add some of the stock (again using the liquid to deglaze the pan if necessary).
Once the bottom of the pan is free of any glaze, add the remaining stock along with the half-and-half and potatoes. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce to a simmer over low heat. Cook for 5 minutes, then add the salmon, corn and thyme. Simmer gently for an additional 10-15 minutes, uncovered, until the potatoes are fork-tender and the salmon is cooked through. Remove and discard the thyme stems. Add the cooked bacon back to the pot, and season with salt and pepper. Taste; adjust seasoning if desired.
- Garnish each serving with fresh chives.
See blog post for modifications including how to turn this into a fish chowder or New England chowder. Other waxy potatoes may be substituted for the yukon gold, but avoid starchy options such as russet potatoes. Adding the bacon back to the pot in Step 4 will ultimately soften it. If you would prefer to retain the crispness of the bacon, use it as a garnish along with the chives in Step 5.
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