DJ Foodielow-carb, low carb, sugar free, sugar-free, gluten-free, gluten free, primal, paleo

Smoked Salmon Chowder

Prep: 15 mins | Cook: 45 mins | Total: 60 mins | Servings:6..

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Smoked Salmon ChowderSmoked Salmon ChowderSmoked Salmon Chowder
As of this recipe, I'm living in the Pacific Northwest of the United States, in Seattle. It seems that something about the geography dictates that we must love smoked salmon, much in the same way people from Vermont love maple syrup, or the people of Wisconsin can't get enough cheddar cheese. It's an incredibly common gift around these parts, causing me to amass a medium-sized stash of this naturally preserved meat. I've been looking at it since the holidays wondering what to do. I'm not a big fan of the stuff, but it's all high quality and a shame to waste.


The definition of a chowder is pretty elusive. The only clear trend between them is that they are always hot and always cooked for a good long time, and they're usually pretty thick and chunky. I'd originally thought that they needed fish or seafood, but there are clearly vegetarian chowders. I'd also thought perhaps they needed to be creamy, but ... the Manhattan Chowder has no dairy, whatsoever. So ... what makes a chowder, a "chowder"? This, I think, is the mystery of the universe.

Squash Note: I also happened to see a big pile of "Hubbard" squash, wrapped in nice pre-cut packages. I cut some really nice cubes out of it for this chowder, but you could really use any of the following: Kabocha squash, pumpkin, delicata, butternut, acorn, buttercup, etc. You could even use sweet potatoes. The method remains the same, but the flavor will vary, somewhat, as will the carb amount. My suggestion would be to stick with Hubbard or Kabocha, if you can.

Salmon Note: Any kind of smoked salmon will do, but I used some high end Alaskan stuff, which came in a wooden box. Mine was a "hot" smoke, which tends to be a bit tougher and will hold its own in this chowder. If you're using a cold smoked salmon (usually bright orange and very soft and moist), this will also work, but I'd suggest adding it near the end of the process. It will harden a bit and take on a more "cooked" texture, but will still taste quite excellent in this chowder. This chowder is, quick honestly, amazing. Really really really really really delicious! I said "really" 5 times. So, you KNOW it must be good!

. .
IngredientsCaloriesFatProteinCarbsFiberSA'sNet Carbs
2 cups (448g)  chicken stock or broth (recipe)31.36.584.483.02003.02
1 small (110g)  onion, diced440110208
2 each (101g)  celery ribs, diced16013201
4 each (12g)  garlic cloves, minced16004004
1 each (0g)  bay leaves0000000
4 slices (100g)  raw bacon, chopped (for bits)45845121001
1 cup (116g)  hubbard squash, cut into 1/4-to-1/2 inch cubes461210307
1 small (74g)  red bell pepper, seeded and diced22.940.744.441.4802.96
1 tsp (2g)  smoked paprika6.74.3.351.31.8600.45
2 1/2 cups (595g)  cream, heavy whipping2052.522012.517.50017.5
8 oz (227g)  smoked salmon, cut into cubes976.168.190.80000
salt and fresh cracked pepper, to taste0000000
Totals (of 6 Servings):3669.64334.98g124.87g54.27g9.34g0g44.93g
Per Serving:611.6155.83g20.81g9.05g1.56g0g7.49g *


  1. Place a soup pot over medium-low heat. Add chicken stock, onions, celery, garlic and bay leaf. Bring to a simmer.
  2. In a sauté pan, over medium heat, cook the bacon until the bacon is crispy.
  3. Strain out the bacon and set aside. Also, remove about half of the bacon fat and save for another day.
  4. In the still hot sauté pan, add your squash and a little salt and pepper. Sauté over high heat, to get a little caramelization on the squash cubes.
  5. Once the squash cubes begin to develop a nice brown color on the exterior, add your bell peppers, paprika and a little salt and pepper. Sauté for about 3 more minutes. Dump the ingredients into the soup pot and continue simmering. Reduce temperature to low.
  6. Add cream to the chowder. If your salmon is hot smoked (looks like cooked salmon), add it to the chowder at this point. Also, add your bacon bits. Allow the chowder to simmer on low for about 45 minutes.
  7. If you're using cold smoked salmon (soft, bright orange and moist), add it after the chowder has simmered for about 45 minutes. Allow it to simmer in the soup for about 5 minutes.
  8. Taste, adjust seasoning and serve!


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* Learn More: More about this recipe and nutrition ...


Hello, I'm wondering if the salmon HAS to be smoked? I have a bunch of salmon in the freezer and on those occasions when my husband does smoke it, it lasts for several hours and then no one knows where it went. Thoughts? thanks in advance...

 Lynn  6/3/2015


This is a wonderful chowder! I left out the squash, and added rutabaga I had on hand.

I would point out for people not used to making fish/seafood stews, that your excellent recipe can be easily turned in to clam, scallop, cod, or mix of all of them, version, with or without the squash. We in New England like our chowder, and I think this version is better than the traditional clam.

Thanks for another great recipe, Chef!

 Dean  1/25/2015


---Reply posted by DJ on 1/25/2015
I mean mussels ... silly spell check! ;)
---Reply posted by DJ on 1/25/2015
Wow, Dean. That's some high praise. Thank you! Yes, there are tricks, though, for pulling the maximum amount of flavor out of things like clams, shrimp, oysters, muscles, crab, etc. Each one has a slightly different slant, but the basic idea is to always pull as much flavor from the ingredients, as possible. Save and use the poaching liquid from the mollusks, or make a stock with the shells of any of your crustaceans. Even start with a nice chicken, veg or fish stock, so you simply add flavor to flavor! Just some extra thoughts, but ... again, thank you. That's very kind! :)
---Reply posted by Dean on 1/25/2015
AND shrimp, oysters, are great,too. My personal favorite chowder combination is scallop, shrimp, and clam.

Aha, Jennifer ... so you know what I mean, then! ;)

 DJ  8/25/2014


I'm in the Seattle area too (the Eastside). Can't wait to try this!

 Jennifer  8/24/2014


Hi Melinda, it’s a big squash. I just happened to run across some pre-cut hubbard at the store and thought to use it. You could really use just about any winter squash, as well as something like a sweet potato. I’m a big fan of the kabocha squash. That’d be perfect! <br /><br /> Sarah, thanks for your input. I’ve definitely seen many chowders without a potato. While I agree with you that it’s VERY common, it’s not consistent. It’s one of those things where … I know a chowder when I see one, but … there are no hard and fast rules that 100% of them adhere to (that I’m aware of). At least … those are my thoughts …<br /><br /> Laffin, yep! Any of those would work. Chicken or ham, too! You’d need to tweak the cooking method a bit, but nothing major.

 DJ  7/30/2014


I'm not a big fan of salmon (pretty much hate it). I wonder if this would work with clams, shrimp or lobster substituted for the salmon?

 laffin  7/25/2014


The main thing that makes a soup a chowder is that it has potatoes. I've had good luck using rutabagas as a substitute for potatoes.

 Sarah  7/25/2014


What is hubbard squash?

 Melinda  7/24/2014


Hi Carol, excellent! When all is said and done, it should be just over 1 cup, per person. It'll be about 1 1/8th of a cup ... or about 9 oz. per person. I hope this helps! :)

 DJ  3/19/2014


As usual, this sounds amazing! I've been searching for something like this. :) Is the recipe for 6 one-cup servings? Thank you for all you do!

 Carol  3/19/2014


Hi Bernadette, I suppose you could, but it's really only intended to simmer for about 45 minutes to an hour. Crock-pots are typically used for longer cook times. My inclination is just to suggest you use a pot with a lid, but if you'd like to use a crock-pot ... go for it! Just be sure to test it as it cooks. It'll take a bit longer in a crock pot, but I don't know by how much. You just don't want it to turn into mush. Good luck! :)

 DJ  3/19/2014


Would you say this could be done in a crock pot?

 Bernadette  3/19/2014


Never fear, DJ Foodie, I am always available to relieve you of any smoked salmon stash you have accumulated. I don't get nearly enough of it to satisfy my Washington grown instinct to eat it for survival.

 Sally  5/29/2013

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