Salmon Chowder

A creamy but low-fat chowder made with chunks of fresh salmon in a creamy broth with carrot, potato and fresh fennel.

Salmon Chowder

You won’t find many faux foods in Kitchen Parade. But once in awhile, along comes a product worth touting.

For months, I ignored the raves about fat-free half ‘n’ half. Like low-fat butter, it sounded too good to be true, tempting with promise but certain to disappoint. Once tried, however, it was instantly a refrigerator staple, especially for creamy essence in soups like this week’s SALMON CHOWDER.

But truth be told, this product is a disappointment. Its calorie count is up there with whole milk’s even if the fat grams match up with skim’s. But it’s an unreliable substitute: in quiche and casseroles, for example, it separates and refuses to thicken.

Still, to my taste buds and my waist line, it can’t be beat in winter-hearty, body-healthy soups.

Are any ambitious food scientists reading? Half ‘n’ half is a good start. But how about calorie-free bacon cheeseburgers and Friday-night pizza and grilled ribeyes and hot-buttered muffins still warm from the oven and chocolate chip cookies alongside a cold glass of milk and … and … and … fix these and faux is fine, just fine.

ALANNA's TIPS Foodies may sniff but for every-day, I find minced garlic from a jar more than good enough in taste to say nothing of a time-saver. Leave the skins on the potato, adding fiber and saving a minute or two. For a heartier soup, use a pound of salmon or double the broth and add diced zucchini or sweet potato or ribboned spinach. Leftover salmon chowder reheats beautifully but doesn’t freeze well. This soup tastes quite 'fresh' when eaten immediately but does develop more nuance and depth when allowed to rest for a day for the flavors to meld.


Hands-on time: 25 minutes
Time-to-table: 35 minutes
Makes 9 cups
  • 14-ounce can fat-free chicken broth (2 cups)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 fennel bulb, diced
  • 2 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic (about 2 cloves)
  • 8 ounces russet potato, skin on, diced (from 1 large potato)
  • 1-1/2 cups frozen corn
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 pound fresh salmon, cut in half- inch pieces
  • 2 cups fat-free half ’n’ half
  • Salt and pepper
  • Fresh thyme or chive, optional

Bring the broth to a boil in the microwave. (Skip this step if you’re not in a rush.)

Heat a large pot or Dutch oven on medium high. Add the oil, once it’s hot, add the vegetables as they’re prepped, stirring well with each addition. Add the bay leaf and broth and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to medium and simmer until vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes. (If you’re cooking ahead, stop here.)

Stir in the fish, making sure to submerse so it’ll cook through. Add the half ‘n’ half and bring to eating temperature but do not allow to boil.

Season to taste with salt and pepper. Top bowls with fresh thyme or chive if desired.

NUTRITION ESTIMATE This recipe has been 'Alanna-sized' with reductions in fat and portion size and increases in fiber-rich vegetables. Per Cup: 163 Calories; 5g Tot Fat; 1g Sat Fat; 21g Carb; 2g Fiber; 237mg Sodium; 15mg Cholesterol; Weight Watchers Old Points 3, PointsPlus 3

Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food writer Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Send your own calorie-free wish list to Never miss a Kitchen Parade recipe: Sign up for a free e-mail subscription. How to print a recipe on Kitchen Parade. If you like Kitchen Parade, forward this recipe to a friend who might too!

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Alanna, I've never heard of salmon chowder but it sounds delicious. I am definitely going to have to try this out. Thanks:)

Mmmm...I bet this would also work with leftover salmon, just added at the very end?

You know me, always trying to get my dishes to double-up!


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Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. But I also love hearing your reactions, your curiosity, even your concerns! When you've made a recipe, I especially love to know how it turned out, what variations you made, what you'll do differently the next time. ~ Alanna