Smoked salmon chowder. With smoked salmon, like the fish. The pink one. But it’s smoky and rustic and making me feel all moutainy and wild.
WHO AM I RIGHT NOW.
Mmk well, for starters, I am right here and now a vacationer in Seattle after 15-something hours driving up the coast in a cute little Prius, and I am love-love-loving it. We just arrived tonight and we, uh, haven’t been anywhere besides the hotel, but I can just sense that I love everything already – is that allowed? Also, we have breakfast reservations all set to go for bright and early tomorrow morning because I can’t not think about these things, you guys. I am currently staring down a box of Portland’s finest Voodoo Doughnuts on my little hotel desk here that I’m sure would make a fine Oreo-and-peanut-butter-encrusted leftovers breakfast, but it somehow feels like a waste not to eat out as much as possible in this food paradise of a city.
Which reminds me, thank you x100 for your restaurant recs on Facebook. I am studying them like some sort of foodie travel manual and they are what led me to tomorrow morning’s breakfast which I’m already drooling over. Going to bed excitedly thinking about when I get to wake up and eat breakfast is the number one cliché of my life right now.
Secondly (we were answering the question WHO AM I RIGHT NOW in reference to Smoked Salmon Chowder, in case you lost track back there in all the wordssss), I am a devoted customer to a sweet little restaurant called Cafe Latte in Saint Paul. Can I get a shout out from anyone who shares my adoration on this one? The turtle cake? The chicken chili? Most recently I am an eater of Cafe Latte’s smoked salmon stew-like-chowdery-delicious-creamy-soup-in-a-bowl. Wow, friends. Run yourself over there right now if you live in the Twin Cities. This stuff is heaven-sent.
The thing you should know is that I am not the sort of person who would just up and choose a creamy smoked salmon soup over chili or even a white bean and kale Tuscan-y type thing. No. That’s just not my life. How-ev-er, the guy serving me my food from behind the counter on the salmon soup day described it to me as something you’d eat just before curling up with a blanket and taking a nap. <— read that again. The man knew my food love language and he gave it to me straight on.
For this recipe, I got my smoked salmon from my neighbor who works part of the year in Alaska and gets lots of fresh seafood when he comes. *best kind of neighbor ever* And the funny thing is that even though I don’t usually have smoked salmon in MN other than the times when my neighbors are extra awesome, now here I am sharing this little post with you while I am in Seattle, the place of smoked-salmon-chowdery deliciousness. Coincidence? Or food fate?
Ultimately the guy behind the counter was totally right. This is the kind of comfort food that says Snuggley Naptime.
These big bowls of comforting chowder start with butter, carrots, onions, and celery. Breathe in the smells, feel their warming and therapeutic powers, and transport to a happy place. Then: a splash of white wine. Stock and potatoes. Thyme and cream and milk. Then flaky, smoky salmon that will make the whole thing altogether sing with both subtlety and richness.
Please locate a slice of crusty white bread for yourself right at this very moment. You will need it. Go Go Go.
This Smoked Salmon Chowder is like a hug in a bowl. So cozy and comforting with butter, onions, carrots, thyme, white wine, potatoes, and smoked salmon.
3–4 tablespoons butter
1 onion, chopped (about 2 cups)
5 carrots, peeled and diced (about 2 cups)
3 celery stalks, sliced into small pieces (about 2 cups)
1/2 cup white wine
6–7 new potatoes, washed and diced
1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme
4 cups broth (I used chicken broth but veg would work)
2 cups milk
1 tablespoon flour
1 cup cream
12–16 ounces smoked salmon (mine was hot smoked salmon which has a jerky-like texture and is already fully cooked)
Heat the butter in a large pan over medium high heat. Add the onion, carrots, and celery. Saute until fragrant and soft. Add the white wine to deglaze the pan and get all those yummy browned bits up in the mix.
Add the potatoes, thyme, and 2 cups of the broth. Simmer until the potatoes are fork tender. Whisk the flour into the milk and add to the pan (this helps it thicken up a little bit – more flour = more thickening). Add 1 cup of broth and simmer for 5-10 minutes or until the soup starts thickening just slightly.
Add the cream and smoked salmon just before serving. If you let the salmon simmer with the soup for too long, it will get mushy. Taste, adjust, and add the last cup of broth to thin out the consistency of the soup as desired. Season with salt and pepper.