Smoked Salmon, Corn & Potato Chowder by Foodie’s Chef Laura Brennan
September 17, 2020
I enjoy salmon in all its preparations: grilled, poached, smoked, roasted & pan-seared.
I especially like smoked salmon in a chowder with corn, peas and potatoes—a classic combination.
Here, I offer a lightened version: I have omitted the bacon and eschewed heavy cream for a combination of half-and-half, chicken stock and water. A couple of tablespoons of flour along with the starch from the potatoes, binds the soup just enough to keep it from separating. I have also employed a ‘chef’s technique’ of pre-cooking the diced potatoes and then adding them to the chowder at a later stage of cooking. Pre-cooking the potatoes gives you more control over the ultimate thickness of the chowder and ensures the potatoes keep their shape and texture.
- Prep: 30 mins
- Cook: 30 mins
- Yields: About 2 quarts finished chowder or about 6 servings.
2 large Yukon gold or red potatoes, approximately 8-ounces each
¾ cup finely diced Spanish or white onion
1 ½ stalks celery, washed & dried and finely diced
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
½ teaspoon ground coriander seed
2 tablespoons all-purpose (AP) flour
1 quart (4 cups) half-and-half
2 cups reduced sodium chicken stock
1-2 cups water, divided
3 ears corn, shucked and completely cleaned of husks and ‘silk’ (yield: 2 cups corn kernels)
optional: ½ teaspoon dried dill
6 ounces smoked salmon, trim pieces
½ cup frozen peas
2-3 teaspoons lemon juice, plus more to taste
kosher salt for cooking the potatoes and seasoning the finished chowder
Fresh ground pepper
Peel the potatoes and cut into 1/8th inch dice. Rinse the potatoes and put into a small saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil, turn the heat down to a simmer and add a teaspoon of kosher salt to the water. Cook until potatoes are tender. It will probably take 6-8minutes. Drain and lay-out on a plate/sheet pan to cool. Set aside.
Cook the mirepoix: the onions & celery.
The ‘mirepoix’ is the flavor base for the chowder. Choose a 3 or 4 quart saucepan with high sides, a ‘Dutch oven’ would be perfect. Heat the pot over low heat and add the butter and vegetable oil to the pot. Add the diced onion and diced celery to the pot. Stir. Add the smallest pinch of salt and cover the pot. Turn heat down to low and ‘sweat’ the mirepoix until translucent, probably 4-5 minutes. Don’t brown the vegetables.
Slide the pan off the heat and add the ½ teaspoon of ground coriander seed and the 2 tablespoons of AP flour. Stir them well to combine. Return pot to the stove and cook the mirepoix-flour mix over VERY low heat for a minute or two to cook the flour. Slide pan off the heat again and slowly begin adding and whisking the liquids: add the 4 cups of half-and-half along with the 2 cups of chicken stock. Return pan to the stove and cook, whisking continuously as mixture thickens slightly. This will take about 10-12 minutes. Be patient!
(note: Whisking continuously is important to keep the flour ‘in suspension’, otherwise it will fall to the bottom of the pot and stick there without thickening the broth at all.)
Finishing the chowder
Simmer the chowder until slightly thickened or until it coats the back of a spoon.
Add 1 cup of water, whisking. Continue to cook for another 5-6 minutes.
Add the rest of the ingredients: the shucked corn kernels, the cooked potatoes and the smoked salmon trim pieces and peas. Stir to combine and simmer gently for 5 or 6 minutes to meld the flavors.
Taste. Adjust the seasoning with lemon juice, dried dill, salt and pepper. Adjust the texture with a bit more water if you find it is too thick. But be aware: this recipe makes a chowder that is NOT thick-thick-thick like many chowders. This is an elegant chowder!