Not everyone has whole salmon lying around the house and this is probably why I had difficulty finding a good recipe for salmon chowder or even salmon stock. We were lucky enough to have two whole sockeyes delivered the other day and after one was filleted and the other cut up for steaks, I decided to make something out of the leftovers. Here is what I came up with!
Try Making Your Own Salmon Stock
Choose a pot big enough to accommodate the size/amount of fish heads and bones you have available. Start by sautéing roughly chopped onions, celery, and carrots in a small amount of butter. Once the onions have become translucent add some dry white wine, enough to give juice to the bottom of your pan. Add about a tablespoon of whole peppercorns (white are preferred, but black or a mix will do), at least five sprigs of fresh thyme and maybe a half-teaspoon of salt. These measurements will depend on the bulk of you batch. Place the fish heads and bones (cleaned with gills removed) in the pot and add just enough water to cover the contents. Bring to a boil and simmer for twenty minutes. You will notice a light brown foam emerging as the stock cooks. You can try to remove it while the stock simmers, but I find this tedious and not very efficient. It is important not to overcook, so after the stock has simmered remove it from heat and let stand for ten minutes. Prepare a colander lined with cheesecloth (at least four layers) and strain the broth, removing all solids and most of the foam. The stock is now complete and should be refrigerated or frozen immediately, lasting three days in the refrigerator and up to two months in the freezer.
Salmon Chowder6 tbsps butter 1 small onion (finely diced) 1 small leek (finely diced) 4 tbsps flour 3 cups salmon stock 3 cups whole milk (heated) 6 to 8 boiling potatoes (peeled and cubed) 2 cups frozen corn fresh salmon meat (use your leftovers as I did, but aim for a pound) ¼ cup red pepper (finely diced) ¼ cup fresh dill (chopped) ¼ cup dry white wine 1 tsp salt ground pepper to taste dash paprika
Sauté the leeks and onions in the butter over low heat for about five minutes, then whisk in the flour and cook for three minutes. Turn your heat up to medium-high and add the milk and stock, bring to a boil stirring frequently. Add the potatoes and salt and simmer on medium heat for ten to fifteen minutes.
At this point you want to cut your salmon into bite-sized pieces, making sure there are no bones. If you have steak meat rather than filet, you may want to cook the pieces in the soup first and then take them out to more easily remove the bones and chop the meat.
Add the corn and salmon and continue to simmer for about five minutes until the potatoes are soft and the salmon slightly firm. Finish with the dill, red pepper, white wine, paprika, and salt and pepper to taste.