A Pacific Northwest style creamy and hearty salmon chowder with leeks, capers & cream cheese, a perfect meal for a cold winter day!
As a PNW (Pacific-Northwest) resident, Salmon is a seafood staple. And when anyone says Chowder…Pike’s Place Smoked Salmon Chowder is first to come to mind.
With the wet Seattle weather, it’s no wonder that this heart-warming rich soup warrants lines that snake through the crowded Pike’s Place Market. Their smoked salmon chowder isn’t your typical pale white chowder like that of the East-coast. Instead this pink-ish…or rather salmon colored soup gets its vibrancy from the touch of tomato paste in it and compliments the pink fish beautifully. Biting through tender softened potatoes, slurping through creamy rich soup that surprising;y isn’t too fishy, you get this bright bursts of zing & brininess from the capers…which to me is the best part of this chowder.
Traditionally regular onions and celery (carrots -optional) and of course lots of garlic, form the flavor base of this soup, I opted to use leeks instead of onions. This may alter the color of the soup a little, but I liked the subtle flavor and the texture it added to the soup. This soup also uses cream cheese over other cheeses which makes it all the more creamy and delicious. While many chowder aficionados may argue about the use of flour or a roux to thicken a chowder, I chose to just let the potatoes do all the thickening this soup needs. That way I can load up extra calories with crusty bread I use to mop up the soup and polish off the bowl.
Now this soup develops more flavor and gets better when the flavors have time to mingle…which really means …it’s a great make ahead soup that tastes better the next day. You can use Smoked salmon like the Pike Place version (if that’s your sort of thing) or fresh salmon (which is my preference)…either way it is fabu-licious! Just make sure to serve it up with some extra crusty bread or crackers! And if you love Pike’s Place Market flavors …do try out my copycat Pike’s Place blackening seasoning for salmon that’s a favorite in my books. (Click on picture below for recipe)
Here’s how you can make some delicious Creamy Salmon Chowder, that’s perfect for a cold winter day.
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- 3 Tbsp Butter
- 1 Leek, sliced
- 2 stalks Celery, sliced
- 4 cloves of Garlic, minced
- 2 medium Russet Potatoes, diced
- 1/2 tsp Fennel Seeds, lightly crushed
- 1 Bay Leaf
- 1 tsp dried Parsley
- 1 tsp dried Dill
- 2 Tbsp Capers with Brine
- 1 Tbsp Tomato Paste
- 4 cups Seafood/Chicken Stock
- 1/2 cup Cream Cheese
- 1 cup heavy Cream
- 1 lb Salmon, cut in chunks
- Salt & Pepper, to taste
- - Melt butter in a big pot on medium high.
- - Add the sliced leeks and saute for 3-4 minutes until they soften.
- - Add minced garlic and saute for another minute.
- - Add the sliced celery, lightly crushed fennel seeds, dried parsley, dried dill, the bay leaf, salt & pepper to taste, tomato paste the capers with brine & diced potatoes and stir it all well.
- - Add the seafood stock or chicken stock and mix everything together.
- - Bring the soup to a boil, then cover and lower heat to a simmer for about 15-20 minutes until the potatoes are tender.
- - Once tender, use a potato masher to mash up some of the potatoes gently. You don't want them all mashed...just a few to thicken the soup.
- - Add 1/2 a cup pf cream cheese and stir it well into the soup.
- - Add the chunks of salmon, cover and allow them to cook for 3-5 minutes
- - Add a cup of heavy cream and stir it in gently.
- - Season with salt and pepper as needed.
- - Lastly garnish with fresh chopped parsley and switch off the heat.