Salmon Chowder

salmon chowder in a bowl with crusty bread
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Made fresh salmon, salty bacon and hearty potatoes this creamy and buttery salmon chowder is the ultimate comfort food. 

So, What Is Chowder? 

The question of what exactly defines a ‘chowder’ is such a hot-button issue for certain people that we’re tempted to plead the fifth. Although it’s a word that usually connotes a seafood stew of some sort, chowder ingredients can vary widely from region to region—a creamless, tomato-y cioppino-esque broth in New York, or a rich, thick, cream-based one in New England. The word ‘chowder’ itself is likely a derivative of a French word “chaudiere”, used by French settlers in the coastal regions of Canada in reference to a certain type of large pot used to boil (among other things) fresh shellfish.

In his infamous book, American Cookery, James Beard asserts that, in part because of the common inclusion of new world ingredients like corn and potatoes, “I am sure that clam chowder as it is known today did not originate before the nineteenth century.” With origins as opaque as a bowl of chowder itself, we’ll just say that chowder is (usually) a creamy, potato-y, seafood stew and it’s delicious—on that point, at least, we can all agree. 

pot of salmon chowder with bacon, corn and jalapeños

5 Reasons To Love This Easy Fish Chowder Recipe

If you’ve got a hang up about making chowder at home, that’s probably because you think that seafood chowder is hard to make. And you’re right! Most classic clam chowder recipes are, in fact, quite fussy. You have to steam the clams, and then deal with all of those shells—so much work for such tiny mollusks! Salmon chowder, on the other hand, is just as delectably savory as clam chowder, and substantially easier to make. Here are five reasons that this is the best chowder recipe ever:  

  1. It’s easy. It just is. No hard-to-find ingredients, not too much chopping or other prep—just a simple salmon corn chowder. We even use frozen corn, which is cooked as the soup simmers, to make prep that much faster. 
  2. It’s a meal all by itself. Sure, you can serve it with a big green salad, or a fancy loaf of country bread, but it’s also just as good on its own. 
  3. It cooks in just one pot! One pot means easy clean-up. Easy clean-up means domestic bliss.  
  4. It’s ready in just about 30 minutes, which means this can be a weeknight chowder recipe. Fall and winter weeknights—dreary with homework and early sunsets—are exactly when we need comforting, steaming hot bowls of chowder the most!
  5. It’s safe for people with shellfish allergies! If you have to avoid clam chowder because of a shellfish allergy—as many people do—but can safely eat fish, this salmon chowder might be just the recipe you’re wishing for.  

How To Make Salmon Chowder: 

Let's just cut right to the chase. This chowder is not 'light' in any way shape or form. From step one, it's a study in comfort and decadence: 

  1. Sauté bacon in butter. Cook til it's crispy, and then set it aside (leaving the fat in the pot). 
  2. Sauté celery, onions, jalapenos, scallions and garlic in said bacon-and-butter fat until they're soft. 
  3. Get simmering! Add your potatoes, salt, pepper and bacon to the softened spicy mirepoix. Pour in the broth and bring the whole glorious mess to a strong simmer. 
  4. Make a slurry! Whisk cornstarch into some water to form a slurry. This starchy paste will help to give your salmon chowder a nice thickness and heft. Stir the slurry into the soup and bring the chowder base (because that's what it is now!) to a boil. 
  5. Simmer again! Turn the heat down a bit and stir in the frozen corn and heavy cream, then lay the salmon pieces on top of the simmering chowder. Cover and simmer until the salmon is cooked. 
  6. Ta da! You made chowder! Now you get to eat it!
pot of salmon chowder with bacon, jalapeno and potatoes

Tools You’ll Need: 

salmon chowder with crusty bread in a bowl

6 Hearty Soup Recipes to Warm You Up This Season

We make a lot of soup. Like, aLOT. Here are six easy soup recipes that are on heavy rotation in our homes at the moment: 

dutch oven filled with clam chowder topped with bacon, corn and jalapeños

You’re a Salmon and Corn Chowder Whiz Now, Right?

We hope this quick, easy salmon chowder recipe hit the spot! Snap a photo of your creamy salmon corn chowder and maybe even a video of the beautiful people you serve it to. Tag us on Instagram using @themodernproper and #themodernproper so we can toast you from afar! Happy eating!

Salmon Chowder

Serves 6

Ingredients

4 tbsp stick unsalted butter
2 large russet potatoes, peeled and cut into one inch pieces
1/2 lb bacon, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 bunch scallions, finely chopped
1 small onion, minced
4 garlic cloves, minced
3 stalks celery, minced
2 cups frozen corn
1 jalapeno, thinly sliced
4 cups chicken stock (or seafood stock)
2 cups heavy cream
1 tbsp cornstarch
1 1.5 lb piece salmon (preferably wild), skin discarded and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
chives for garnish

Method

  1. In a large, heavy stock pot, melt butter over medium heat. Add the bacon and cook, stirring often, until bacon begins to crisp, about 8 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove bacon from the pan and set aside.
  2. Add celery, onions, jalapeños, scallions and garlic and cook, stirring often, until softened, about 8 minutes. Add the broth, potatoes, salt, pepper and cooked bacon. Bring to a simmer and cook until the potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk cornstarch into two tablespoons of water to form a slurry. Stir the cornstarch slurry into the broth and bring to a boil. Let the soup boil for about 2 minutes to thicken slightly.
  4. Turn the heat down to a gentle simmer, and stir in the corn and heavy cream. Layer the raw salmon on top of the simmering soup, season it with ½ teaspoon of salt, and cover the pot with a lid. Simmer for ten minutes, or until the salmon is cooked through.
  5. Top with fresh chives or extra scallions and freshly ground black pepper. Enjoy!