Or Chowdahhhhh as we say in New England. If you’re really lucky, you have someone in your life who smokes fish and will smoke the salmon for you. I’ll say no more, because why ramble on when there are more important things to get to– mainly this chowder!
1/4 lb salt pork, diced (If you don’t eat pork, then skip this step)
2 tablespoons neutral oil- I like grapeseed or avocado oil
3 cloves of garlic, minced
2 celery stalks, diced
3 leeks, sliced and cleaned *how to clean a leek will be at the end of the recipe*
2 russet potatoes, diced into 1/2 inch cubes
1 strip of lemon zest
2 tablespoons fresh dill, chopped (optional)
2 cups vegetable broth or water
2 cups whole milk
2 tablespoons of tomato paste
8 ounces smoked salmon fillets, broken up into chunks (don’t buy the pre-sliced stuff)
1/2 cup heavy cream
salt and pepper to taste
What you need to do:
Render the salt pork. Heat a heavy bottom soup pot. Add the salt pork and 1/4 cup of water and oil. Cover and let it render slowly over medium low heat. This will take about 10 minutes. Uncover, crank up the heat. Allow the water to cook off. Let the salt pork brown for a few minutes.
Sauté the leeks and garlic. Cook until leeks are translucent, about 5 minutes or so. Mash in the tomato paste. Add the celery, potatoes and lemon zest. Stir to combine. Season generously with pepper.
Add the broth or water, milk, and dill. Bring just to a boil and reduce heat to simmer. Do not get a rolling boil going or the milk will look like it’s curdled. Simmer for about 20 minutes or until the potatoes are tender.
Add the salmon and heavy cream to the pot, bring to temp (just below a boil) to allow the salmon to heat through.
Taste, adjust seasoning by adding salt if needed, and pepper. I love a ton of pepper in my chowder so I’m a little heavy handed with it.
Ladle chowder into bowls. If you want to be super fancy, fill the bowls with hot water while the chowder cooks so you have a nice warm bowl into which you can ladle your chowder.
Snip about 1 tablespoon of chives over each bowl. Serve with oyster crackers as is tradition, or with a crusty baguette.
How to clean leeks:
Leeks can be super dirty inside the layers. Have your sink filled with water or fill a large bowl with water. Cut the root end and the dark green ends off your leeks. Slice down the middle to halve it. Chop into half moons and then put the sliced leeks into the water. Continue until all the leeks have been sliced. Agitate the water with your hands. Lift the leeks out and put into a salad spinner or on top of a pile of paper towels to drain. All the sand and dirt will fall to the bottom of the bowl and your leeks will be sparkly clean. Pour out the bowl water.