This salmon chowder is one of my favorite one-pot meals. I use dried chipotle peppers for the smoky flavor usually supplied by bacon, and sweet potatoes and butternut squash for a more nutritious and flavorful replacement for white potatoes.
This chowder was inspired by Everyday Paleo’s Salmon Chowder, adapted using the “Classic New England Chowder” recipe from Paul Johnson’s Fish Forever cookbook as a guide, with a great tip from Levana Kirschenbaum on using whole fish heads in soup when you don’t have stock available (her Moroccan Fish Soup is another great fish soup recipe).
I’ve tried this just using sweet potato but I think it comes out to sweet and the texture gets a little mushy- hence the squash.But you can also use carrots. Homemade fish stock is really easy to make and I encourage you to have some batches stored in the freezer for recipes like this. Bone stocks add tremendous flavor and nutrition to your food.
I keep salmon heads in my freezer as well. They aren’t so easy to find in my area so I buy 5-6 at a time (I have to order ahead). Even with fish stock, I still like to add the salmon head for the extra nutrition.
For my next batch, I’m thinking of trying some Asian flavors; lemongrass, ginger, lime zest… what do you think?
Salmon Chowder with Sweet Potato and Butternut Squash
If you don’t have fish stock, cook salmon or other fish heads wrapped in cheesecloth with all your ingredients. It’s worth the effort for the added flavor and nutrition.
2 tablespoons coconut oil
1/2 large onion, diced
1 large carrot, diced
1 celery stalk, diced
1 can coconut milk (not low-fat)
3 cups homemade fish stock
1-2 dried chipotle pepper or 2 tablespoons paprika (or to taste)
1 sweet potato, coarsely chopped (about 2 cups)
1 small butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and coarsely chopped (about 4 cups)
1 1/2 pounds skinless salmon fillets, cut into 1-inch cubes
2 tablespoons fresh dill, minced
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1. In a soup pot, over high heat, add the coconut oil and saute the onion, celery, and carrot and continue stirring for a few minutes.
2. Add the coconut milk and stock and bring to a simmer (and fish heads if using).
3. Add dried pepper, sweet potato and squash chunks and cook until vegetables are cooked through (about 10 minutes).
4. Turn the heat off and add the salmon and dill.
5. Serve once salmon is cooked through or let stand for one hour and reheat to allow flavors to develop.