Last weekend was gorgeous. Beautiful, warm and sunny, pushing the 80's or lounging happily in the 70's depending on the day. It was perfect birthday party weather for a group of 7 year old girls and I was thankful to be able to send them outside for most of the time. The next day we had Nana and Papa over for more birthday celebration and a little "Papa's a great handyman so can he fix everything while he's visiting..." They brought three gorgeous salmon filets fresh caught from friends in Alaska and we barbequed them all up for dinner. Well, even after pigging out on them, four adults and two kids could only finish two. The rest of this week has ranged from downright cold (low 50's) and having to turn on the heat, to drizzly and gray but slightly muggy. Today was mildly chilly with some solar gain through the clouds in the afternoon. I figured it was a good time to use up the leftover salmon somehow and chowder seemed to fit the bill. My daughter adores Manhattan style clam chowder and loved the salmon so I figured this would go over pretty well. I was wrong. It went over more than well. It replaced the clam chowder. I was slightly surprised but very pleased with the constant and effusive praise coming from her during the entire dinner. I'm sure I will be hearing requests for this one again soon if we have more stints of Mother Nature's mid-season neurosis.
5 strips good bacon, diced (I recommend Hempler's if you are in the NW)
1 yellow onion, chopped
4-5 stalks celery, chopped (around ½-¾ cup)
4 small or 2 large russet potatoes, peeled and chopped (I used lovely little organic ones but the huge ones in the bulk section will do as well)
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 cups chicken stock (homemade if you have it)
1½ cups half and half (if you want to cut calories and richness, use 1 cup half and half, and 1 cup water)
½ cup water
1½-2 cups leftover cooked salmon, chunked and picked over for bones
½ red pepper, diced
1½ tbsp freeze dried parsley
¾ tsp dried dill
sea salt to taste
fresh ground pepper to taste
couple dashes tabasco
½-1 tsp maple syrup (optional)
minced fresh chives for garnish
Fry the bacon in a heavy soup pot until crispy. Take out with a slotted spoon and set aside. Saute the onion and celery in the bacon fat until the onion is translucent. Add potatoes and saute and stir a few more minutes. Add carrots, stock and water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes until veggies are tender.
Add half and half, bell pepper, parsely, dill, tabasco and maple syrup. Simmer 5 minutes. Add salmon and heat through. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Heat until steamy but not boiling. Serve in bowls and garnish with the reserved crispy bacon and fresh chives. Enjoy with crackers, crostini or fresh bread.
Check out Monday Mania - real food at the Healthy Home Economist and Real Food Wednesday at Kelly the Kitchen Kop
Adapted from Whole Foods