The Recipe: A creamy but low-fat chowder made with chunks of fresh salmon in a creamy broth with carrot, potato and fresh fennel. This is a soul-satisfying soup, here on the cusp of winter-to-spring. Surprisingly low in calories and just 4 PointsPlus for Weight Watchers.
The Conversation: Is there a "faux food" you'd like food scientists to invent?
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, some times this product disappoints. 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.
2015 Update: The truth is, I've stopped buying fat-free half 'n' half. Today we just use whole milk, all the creaminess we like for almost the same calories. And in an age of simplification, it's one less thing for the grocery list.
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.
Time-to-table: 35 minutes
Makes 9 cups
- 2 cups chicken stock (or 1 14-ounce can fat-free chicken broth)
- 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 (225g) 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 or whole milk
- 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, letting some color develop. 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 salmon, 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.
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