Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Very Simple Salmon Chowder

My in-laws were from Michigan's Upper Peninsula, their parents having migrated there during the very early 1900s from Finland.  One popular dish was a soup made with potatoes, milk and salt cod.  I remember my mother-in-law making this during the 1960s when Tom and I were dating and Tom telling me how much he didn't like it.(I did!)  Anyway, over the years Tom learned to really like fish chowders and I often make this one with salmon.  Called "lohikeitto" in Finnish, it often will have carrots and rutabaga.  I like it simple with potatoes, leeks and a lot of fresh dill.  Serve it with a sturdy rye bread.

Makes 3 to 4 quarts

6 Tbl butter, divided
2 large fat leeks, white and light green part only
4 cups peeled potatoes cut into a 3/4 inch dice (I used 3 large redskins)
3 Tbl flour
4 cups clam juice or fish stock
2 cups half and half
1 1/2 to 2 pounds boneless, skinless salmon cut into one inch cubes
1 cup fresh minced dill
Salt and white pepper to taste

Cut the leeks lengthwise into four quarters each and then crosswise into 1/4 inch pieces
Melt 3 Tbl of the butter in a good size soup pot and gently saute the leeks over medium heat until soft.  Stir in the potato and flour and continue to saute to let the flour cook a little for about a minute.
Add the fish stock or clam juice, bring up to a boil and then simmer the potatoes for about ten minutes until fork tender.
Add the half and half and the fish.  Bring barely up to a simmer (don't boil!) for about 5 minutes.  Stir in the remaining 3 Tbl butter and the minced dill.  Season with salt and white pepper.

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