Adirondack Salmon Chowder

I have a confession. I have a fear of cooking seafood. It’s sad but true. If you look back at the history of this blog you will find zero (zero!) seafood recipes. Can anyone else relate? I mean there are so many intimidating questions – Where do you buy good seafood? What type should you buy? How do you cook it? How can you tell if it’s done? My seafood world has been filled with fear, but I’m here to say that I’m tired of it. What good is a food blog if it doesn’t force me to stretch outside of my cooking comfort zone and try something new? And so I took the seafood plunge. The result? A warm, creamy and delicious salmon chowder. And rest assured – if I can do it, you can too!

The secret to overcoming my fear of salmon was Alaska Seafood. When Foodbuzz (my ad network) asked if I wanted to try some seafood from Alaska, I jumped at the chance. This stuff is a fearful cooker’s dream! Alaska Seafood is a marketing board that represents Alaska’s sustainable seafood industry, so you know you’re getting a quality product. It takes some of the guesswork out of buying fish. And best of all, no there were no scales – at least on the salmon I received! (I am completely grossed out by fish scales; yes I’m a wimp) It’s easy to cook – you can grill it, saute it, broil it, pan-fry it, etc, and you don’t even have to thaw it! Actually, it was so easy that Mike helped me cook it! :)

Yes, this is in fact the first thing Mike has cooked in months (years?). Let that fill you with hope –  you can’t go wrong. p.s. isn’t he cute??

Now, on to the recipe. This is a recipe with a history. Mike’s coworker sent me this recipe for salmon chowder months ago. It’s one of her family’s favorites, and she thought we would enjoy it as well. I thought it sounded great – I love the idea of salmon chowder, and Mike was really excited to try it. Just one problem – I had no idea how to cook salmon! So I didn’t make it. For months I let it sit in my inbox, where it continued to make me feel guilty for letting fear keep me from trying a great new recipe.

Well, let me tell you, this recipe was worth the wait. We loved it! I made it on the first “fall-ish” day  of the year, and it was so nice to sit out on our porch on a cool evening and enjoy a bowl of steaming hot chowder!  Ambiance aside, this soup is delicious. It’s thick and creamy without being too rich, and it has enough vegetables that I was able to fool myself into thinking it’s healthy. I made a few changes to the recipe based on personal taste and to make sure I could utilize the convenience of my frozen salmon. I think you could make any number of variations to this recipe and still have it turn out great. And best of all, I have increased confidence in the realm of seafood. Well, at least in the realm of salmon. What’s next…shrimp? scallops? lobster??? The sky’s the limit :)

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Adirondack Salmon Chowder

Ingredients:

2 cups chicken broth
½ cup chopped onion
½ cup diced celery
2 cups diced carrots
1½-2 cups diced potatoes
2 Bay Leaves
1½-2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 tablespoon old bay seasoning
1 teaspoon parsley
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon dried dill weed
½ stick butter
1/3 cup flour
1 qt. (4 cups) milk
1 teaspoon cornstarch
6 slices bacon, cooked and diced
1 - 1 1/2 lbs frozen Alaska Salmon (not thawed)
1 cup frozen corn
1 12 oz. pkg. Cream cheese

Directions:

To cook the salmon: Heat a heavy nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Brush both sides of the fish with canola oil. Place fish in the heated pan (skin side up if the skin is still on). Cook uncovered 3-4 minutes or until browned. Turn the fish over, season with salt and pepper, and cover the skillet. Reduce the heat to medium and cook 6 more minutes. Let salmon cool on a plate, then flake apart into bite sized pieces. Set aside.

Simmer chicken broth, onion, carrots, celery, potatoes, bay leaves and other seasonings for 15-20 minutes in a covered medium saucepan, until vegetables are soft.

Heat milk in microwave for 2 minutes. In a separate large-sized stockpot, melt butter then add flour and pepper. Cook together for a couple of minutes, then whisk in warmed milk. Stir and heat together on medium-high heat until the mixture starts to thicken slightly, being careful not to let the it boil. In a small bowl, mix 1 tsp cornstarch with a little bit of water to create a slurry. Add to the pot and allow to thicken slightly.

Remove the bay leaves from the chicken broth and add the chicken broth and vegetables into the milk mixture.

Stir in corn, bacon, salmon, and cream cheese. Cook on medium, stirring frequently until heated through and cheese has completely melted. Taste and adjust seasonings as necessary.

from Mike's coworker Allison, adapted from Musky Bob's Adirondack Series

*Note: I received Wild Alaska Seafood from Foodbuzz expressly for this post. I was not compensated in any other way for this post, and all thoughts and opinions are my own.

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52 Responses to “Adirondack Salmon Chowder”

  1. 1

    Simply Life — August 27, 2010 @ 10:38 am

    Wow, nice work! I have a bit of a seafood fear as well and usually stick to what I feel safe with – scallops and shrimp. Thanks for the encouragement to branch out a bit! :)

  2. 2

    Barbara — August 27, 2010 @ 11:49 am

    That looks great, Megan! Never would have thought to use salmon in a chowder!

  3. 3

    Brenda — August 27, 2010 @ 12:57 pm

    OMG Megan, I've bookmarked this and want to make it NOW! I love love love salmon but have never had it in a chowder. What a fantastic recipe. It looks absolutely delicious. I'm so happy fall is almost here. Thanks for sharing, I can't wait to make this!

  4. 4

    Jenn — August 27, 2010 @ 1:16 pm

    Glad you overcame your fear of cooking with seafood….the chowder looks wonderful!!

  5. 5

    Susi — August 27, 2010 @ 2:30 pm

    I love everything with Salmon and this chowder looks like pure comfort! Delicious!

  6. 6

    Susi's Kochen und Backen — August 27, 2010 @ 2:30 pm

    I love everything with Salmon and this chowder looks like pure comfort! Delicious!

  7. 7

    Kelly — August 27, 2010 @ 6:24 pm

    Thanks for commenting on my blog. I agree, it is so fun to see what everyone made and how the same ingredients can take different people in such different directions. Glad this helped you get over your fear!

  8. 8

    life in recipes — August 27, 2010 @ 6:36 pm

    I love a good seafood chowder – will have to add this to my long list of "things to try." Thanks for stopping by my site, as well.

  9. 9

    life, in recipes — August 27, 2010 @ 6:36 pm

    I love a good seafood chowder – will have to add this to my long list of “things to try.” Thanks for stopping by my site, as well.

  10. 10

    Meghan@travelwinedine — August 27, 2010 @ 6:54 pm

    This is a gorgeous recipe, and a perfect fall dinner with some great bread! My husband is from Ireland, and this will remind him of the seafood chowders there :)

  11. 11

    my boyfriend cooks for me — August 28, 2010 @ 5:28 pm

    Beautiful looking soup!

  12. 12

    Coach Sheryl — August 28, 2010 @ 8:51 pm

    Do you know…can reduced fat cream cheese be used?

  13. 13

    Chef Bee — August 28, 2010 @ 10:03 pm

    This chowder looks great. I too sometimes shy away from seafood. Keep working with it, awesome dish.

    Plan B

  14. 14

    megan — August 30, 2010 @ 12:34 am

    Coach Sheryl – I don't know for sure, but I'm guessing that reduced fat cream cheese would be fine. If you try it, let me know how it turns out!

  15. 15

    megan @ whatmegansmaking — August 30, 2010 @ 12:34 am

    Coach Sheryl – I don't know for sure, but I'm guessing that reduced fat cream cheese would be fine. If you try it, let me know how it turns out!

  16. 16

    Courtney — August 30, 2010 @ 1:47 am

    I just made this tonight for dinner tomorrow…it is fantastic!!!! My husband loved it too. Can't wait to enjoy it tomorrow with a nice loaf of sourdough!

  17. 17

    megan — August 30, 2010 @ 2:28 am

    Courtney – I'm so glad you liked it! Thanks so much for stopping back to let me know. Comments like yours make my day :) Hope you enjoy it just as much tomorrow night!

  18. 18

    megan @ whatmegansmaking — August 30, 2010 @ 2:28 am

    Courtney – I'm so glad you liked it! Thanks so much for stopping back to let me know. Comments like yours make my day :) Hope you enjoy it just as much tomorrow night!

  19. 19

    Jen @ BigBinder — September 1, 2010 @ 3:21 am

    This looks WONDERFUL!! My brother is a fishing guide in Alaska. Who knows, maybe he caught that salmon :) I love fish and I have fed it to my kids since they were babies. My husband is more skiddish about it, but I think since I grew up eating it I am not as fearful. But yes, especially with some of the white fish I don't always feel like I know for sure if it's cooked. I just wing it. AND I'm going to vote for you right now.

  20. 20

    megan — September 1, 2010 @ 4:53 pm

    Jen – Thanks so much for your comment, and for voting! I really appreciate it :) How neat that your brother is a fishing guide in Alaska! He probably knows exactly how to cook fish :)

  21. 21

    megan @ whatmegansmaking — September 1, 2010 @ 4:53 pm

    Jen – Thanks so much for your comment, and for voting! I really appreciate it :) How neat that your brother is a fishing guide in Alaska! He probably knows exactly how to cook fish :)

  22. 22

    Megan — September 10, 2010 @ 3:35 pm

    It looks delicious! I voted and I'm wishing you luck!!!

  23. 23

    megan — September 11, 2010 @ 1:00 am

    Megan – Thanks so much for voting! :)

  24. 24

    megan @ whatmegansmaking — September 11, 2010 @ 1:00 am

    Megan – Thanks so much for voting! :)

  25. 25

    Kristen Weaver — September 13, 2010 @ 4:45 pm

    Hello Megan! I am thinking about making this since my whole family loves salmon chowder and it will remind us of Washington. Do you know how many people can eat from this recipe? I would have 7 people if I make it soon.

  26. 26

    megan — September 13, 2010 @ 5:22 pm

    Kristen – So nice to see a comment from you! :) Honestly, I didn't pay attention to how much it made, I just know it made a lot and we ate it for days. I'm pretty sure it would feed 7…the recipe has 2 cups of broth, a quart of milk, and plenty of other add-ins, and really does make a lot of soup. To be on the safe side you could serve it with lots of crusty bread on the side to fill people up ;) Let me know if you try it and how it turns out!

  27. 27

    megan @ whatmegansmaking — September 13, 2010 @ 5:22 pm

    Kristen – So nice to see a comment from you! :) Honestly, I didn't pay attention to how much it made, I just know it made a lot and we ate it for days. I'm pretty sure it would feed 7…the recipe has 2 cups of broth, a quart of milk, and plenty of other add-ins, and really does make a lot of soup. To be on the safe side you could serve it with lots of crusty bread on the side to fill people up ;) Let me know if you try it and how it turns out!

  28. 28

    Katie — September 14, 2010 @ 11:49 pm

    Made this tonight for dinner… it was GREAT! I froze a bunch of it though because it made SO MUCH! Hopefully it thaws okay later.

  29. 29

    megan — September 15, 2010 @ 2:54 am

    Katie – I'm so glad you liked it! Thanks so much for stopping back to let me know. If you think about it, let me know how it is once you thaw it – you're right, it definitely makes a lot of soup!

  30. 30

    megan @ whatmegansmaking — September 15, 2010 @ 2:54 am

    Katie – I'm so glad you liked it! Thanks so much for stopping back to let me know. If you think about it, let me know how it is once you thaw it – you're right, it definitely makes a lot of soup!

  31. 31

    Kristen — September 17, 2010 @ 4:16 pm

    This is an amazing soup! I made it last night for Josh and I and it did rival some of the chowders in Washington! Josh loves a smoked salmon chowder in Seattle that also has capers. I might try this next time with smoked salmon and the capers. Thanks for posting this!

  32. 32

    megan — September 17, 2010 @ 10:24 pm

    Kristen – Yay, I'm so glad you liked it! I bet you have a lot of leftovers to enjoy as well :) Good suggestion with the capers!

  33. 33

    megan @ whatmegansmaking — September 17, 2010 @ 10:24 pm

    Kristen – Yay, I'm so glad you liked it! I bet you have a lot of leftovers to enjoy as well :) Good suggestion with the capers!

  34. 34

    Marisa — September 28, 2010 @ 9:26 am

    I'm exactly the same – also have this unfounded fear of cooking seafood! Silly, right?

  35. 35

    muskybob — December 12, 2010 @ 8:58 am

    Well, I'm certainly glad my chowder is such a hit. It was recently featured in Great Lakes Angler Magazine, Jan. 2011 Issue. I've received many rave reviews on it. You can see it posted on http://www.gla.com or http://www.lakeontariounited.com in their respective cooking sections. One thing I might add to your blog is that it's not necessary to precook the salmon. You simply make sure all bones are removed, then chunk it up. I'd love to hear your comments when you try it. Please send to muskybob@gmail.com Thank you Megan for trying it and I'm very impressed to see your blog with it on the web. Bob

  36. 36

    muskybob — December 12, 2010 @ 9:15 am

    Oops, For the Great Lakes Angler link I meant to put http://www.glangler.com It's an excellent magazine for anyone interested in Salmon/Trout fishing on the Great Lakes. Bon Apatite, Bob

  37. 37

    megan @ whatmegansmaking — December 13, 2010 @ 3:01 pm

    muskybob – Thanks for your comment! And thanks for a great soup recipe! We loved it :)

  38. 38

    muskybob — December 13, 2010 @ 4:13 pm

    UGH, Chowder Megan, Chowder LOL So glad you enjoyed it. Getting lots of email over it due to the magazine.

  39. 39

    Sofia Reino — January 25, 2011 @ 9:14 pm

    A good friend of mine just sent me your blog URL and am thankful for such. I enjoyed reading this entry as I am a seafood lover and just wished I could cook more seafood. Actually I think I could easily become a pescatarian. Anyways congratulations on this beautiful chowder, and PLEASE keep on trying seafood. It is not as scary as it may sound at first.

  40. 40

    Anne Olson — February 24, 2011 @ 8:50 pm

    This chowder is really, really good. The seasonings (old bay, dill) make it pop. The only thing I did differently is that I used fresh salmon because it is prevalent in the Pacific Northwest. This was a company meal (chowder was the main course)and everyone wanted the recipe.
    The cream cheese was wonderful and I didn't feel bad using the regular kind because I used low fat milk.

    Megan, don't fear salmon. Fear oysters instead. :)

  41. 41

    Autumn Rae — March 4, 2012 @ 6:00 pm

    This looks really good! I want to try it,but can you make it without the potatoes?

    • megan replied: — March 9th, 2012 @ 10:49 am

      Yes definitely, just follow the recipe as-is, but leave out the potatoes.

  42. 42

    muskybob — May 15, 2012 @ 10:30 am

    Megan, & Autumn Rae, other folks have asked me the same question and I’ve told them that in some of the emails I’ve received, some are substituting water chestnuts for the potatoes. I’ve tried it and it’s very good also. ;-)

    • megan replied: — May 17th, 2012 @ 5:33 pm

      Thanks for the suggestion! Water chestnuts sound wonderful :)

  43. 43

    muskybobffff — May 17, 2012 @ 6:12 pm

    Any time Megan ;)

  44. 44

    Rachel — June 14, 2012 @ 1:21 pm

    Well, I find this extremly interesting…I was searching for a salmon chowder recipe to use up my last season’s frozen salmon (I am making batches to freeze again for fall). Here in Alaska, we have to clean out our freezers for the coming season. I can’t imagine using fresh, premier salmon in a “chowder”. Either way, the recipe looks great – especially for old frozen salmon. :-)

  45. 45

    S’Mores Whoopie Pies | The Texan New Yorker — April 28, 2013 @ 1:24 pm

    [...] amazing-looking recipes of Megan’s that I debated making: Salmon Chowder; Cheesy Apple [...]

  46. 46

    mike burch — October 25, 2013 @ 6:01 pm

    Hi,Megan..it has been a while since last time I ‘spoke ‘ to you..Sure do hope you and yours are well..i was just going over some Adirondack mountain pictures on the web..when I discovered your recipe for Adirondack salmon chowder..wow what a nice surprise that was…I used to live in the Adirondacks up until I was 22 years old…then moved away for my oldest boys health…he is now 42 years old.I miss my old place of home especially in the fall with the beautiful colors and wonderful fall harvest,apples…thanks ..mike burch

  47. 47

    MyMelody — November 21, 2013 @ 9:01 pm

    My husband and I really loved this recipe! Unfortunately, so did the cat. We caught her eating it from out of the pot! I really really was hoping we’d get to have seconds. :P Anyway, wonderful dish for a cold day.

  48. 48

    Best Seattle search engine optimization — March 4, 2014 @ 9:36 pm

    Delicious!! And no regrets here…served it in bread bowls. ;o)

    Leftovers tonight…my mouth’s already watering!!

  49. 49

    Tisha — March 8, 2014 @ 4:21 pm

    This was AMAZING!! Everyone loved it including my children (ages 1 & 4). I will definitely be making more and freezing it next time. Thanks for the great recipe!!

  50. 50

    Michelle — April 16, 2014 @ 7:00 pm

    Made this tonight…bought a bag of frozen salmon filets at Costco and was getting tired of eating just filleted salmon. SOO happy I tried this recipe, it was amazing! Best for those rainy or cold nights with some TV and comfort food! Thanks for sharing!

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