| 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!