Northwest Smoked Salmon Chowder

By Catherine Lamb
February 19, 2018
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Author Notes: Clam chowder comes in two varieties: New England and Manhattan. But what about the West Coast? Don't they deserve chowder, too?
Obviously. And it comes in the form of this creamy, tangy, smoky chowder filled with hot smoked salmon, capers, cream cheese, and leeks. Bonus points if you eat it in a sourdough bread bowl.
Catherine Lamb

Serves: 6 to 8

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 large leeks, sliced, soaked in water to remove the grit
  • 2 stalks celery, diced fine
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 cups potatoes, chopped, preferably Idaho or Russet (450g)
  • 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 15-oz can chopped tomatoes, drained
  • 3 cups fish stock (chicken or veg stock works, too)
  • 3 tablespoons capers, plus 1 tablespoon of brine
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, cut into cubes
  • 1/2 cup half and half
  • 1 tablespoon hot sauce (I used Texas Pete's)
  • 1 cup hot smoked salmon, shredded
  • 1/4 cup flat-leaf parsley, diced for garnish
  • lemon wedges, for garnish
  • Sourdough bread bowls for serving, or slices of sourdough bread for dipping
  1. Heat the butter and olive oil in a large soup pot or Dutch Oven over medium heat. Add the onions, leeks, celery, salt and pepper and sauté, stirring, for 5 minutes, or until the onions turn translucent.
  2. Add the garlic and potatoes and stir. Add bay leaves and fennel seeds, stir. Add tomato paste and let toast for a minute. Stir in chopped tomatoes, stock, and capers. Let simmer for 10 to 15 minutes or until potatoes are cooked all the way through.
  3. Remove the bay leaves and add the cream cheese, let it melt into the soup. Add the half & half and stir it until fully incorporated. When the soup just begins to simmer stir in the smoked salmon and stir until heated through. Add the hot sauce and combine.
  4. Serve chowder in sourdough bowls or with sourdough bread on the side for dipping. Garnish with chopped parsley, lemon wedges, and hot sauce on the side.
  5. Pro tip: Chowder tastes better the next day.

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