So, last week happened. It didn’t have a lot to recommend it. Especially with devastating earthquakes and tsunamis. Not good. The minor street flooding, road closures, detours, phlegmtastic chest cold and UTI that I experienced really weren’t so bad when you put it all in perspective. The cold lingers on and I still feel all stuffy and gross, like I’ve got a head full of chowder. Chowder doesn’t belong in your head – it belongs in your bowl.
And with that unappetizing thought, let’s back up a bit. I was trying to decide what was for dinner on Saturday night and here’s where my train of thought went, “Okay, I have some 5-minutes-a-day bread dough leftover, what would be nice with bread? Something saucy or stew-like… stew… what do I have for vegetables…let’s take a peak in the crisper… no carrots…dang, there’s A LOT of lettuce and cucumbers in here. Forget stew, we’re having salad. What goes with bread and salad… a nice hearty soup. Like a chowder!”
I really didn’t feel like going to the grocery store with my big chowder head so I wanted to make-do with what I had on hand. I didn’t have clam juice or canned clams or frozen fish, but I did have the ever-present canned salmon and my own homemade frozen fish stock. Salmon chowder coming up!
The other good thing I happened to have handy was bacon. Bacon makes a good start for so very many things.
And when onions cook in bacon fat, how could that be anything but good? The chowder just came together from there and it gave us some comfort in a bowl in a week that needed all the comfort it could get.
4 slices bacon, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
4 small to medium potatoes (I used Yukon Gold), small dice
¼ cup all purpose flour
4 cups fish stock (or clam juice or chicken or vegetable stock or broth)
1 cup or more 2% milk (or cream, half & half, whole milk or whatever combination of
milk/cream provides the consistency you like)
2 6-ounce cans pink salmon, drained & meat broken up (or use a fresh filet poached in
the fish stock)
½ cup or more chopped scallions
1 tablespoon butter
Heat a large sauce pan over medium-high heat. Add the bacon and cook until crisp.
Using a slotted spoon, remove the bacon from the pan leaving the grease behind. Add the
onions to the pot and cook in the bacon grease for 5 minutes or until softened, stirring
Add the potatoes, stir, and sprinkle with the flour. You can add the bacon back to the pot
and cook it along with the potatoes at this point if you prefer it softened, or reserve it to
top the chowder when serving. Add the stock or broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to
low and simmer for 10 minutes or until potatoes are soft.
Add the milk or cream and return to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and add the salmon and
scallions. Stir to combine & taste for seasoning. Add salt & pepper as needed. Float butter
on top – when it has melted, the chowder is ready to serve. Stir once again before