After we smoke and pressure can our wild Alaskan salmon in the summer, we can enjoy it all winter long. It’s delicious to eat right out of the jar or we like to mix it with some cream cheese for a quick dip or spread. But on a chilly winter evening, Alaskan smoked salmon chowder on the wood stove is the perfect meal to warm us up!
Every summer, my husband goes dip netting in the Copper River for Sockeye salmon. He usually brings home around thirty fish, well below our family’s limit but plenty for us to enjoy throughout the winter. You can read about how we process, cold smoke, and pressure can our salmon in this post.
We now have smoked salmon to eat until next year’s fishing season. We use about a jar a week. Sometimes we eat it right out of the jar or mix it with cream cheese to make a dip for crackers or to spread on homemade bread.
But when it’s well below freezing and we want a warm, hearty supper, salmon chowder is our go-to. Because the salmon is already cooked and ready to eat, I don’t have to worry about thawing or cooking any meat for this dish. This makes it a convenient weeknight meal.
Ingredients for Alaskan Smoked Salmon Chowder
I almost always have the ingredients for this dish on hand as they are pretty basic and used in many of the meals that I prepare.
- 16 oz. can of smoked salmon
- 5 cups chicken stock
- 1/4 cup butter, divided
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- Carrots, celery, potatoes, or any vegetables on hand, chopped
- 1 cup heavy cream
- salt and pepper to taste
Some Notes on Ingredients
- If you don’t have your own smoked salmon, try ordering some from one of the many Alaskan fishing families that make their catches available on-line. Supporting local fishermen is important and that’s the best way to get real Alaskan seafood no matter where you live.
- Homemade chicken stock is far more flavorful than any package from the store. I make several quarts at a time and either pressure can or freeze it so I always have some on hand.
- I make butter every couple of days with fresh cream from our dairy cow. If you haven’t tried homemade butter, you’re missing out!
- I use whatever vegetables I happen to have or need to use up. We have several bags of potatoes in storage from our garden so I always throw some of those in. Peas, peppers, and corn are some other options.
- Thanks again to our dairy cow, I’m able to use freshly skimmed cream to thicken the chowder. Add as much or as little as you like.
Cooking on a Wood Stove
We heat our log home partly with a wood stove so unless there is an air quality burn restriction, there’s always a fire going during the winter. Our log home isn’t dry, we have running water and a modern kitchen with all of the appliances. But when the wood stove is hot anyway, why not use it to cook instead of the electric stove? It’s perfect for keeping a pot of soup simmering.
This is a new skill that I have enjoyed learning. We have a lot of power outages where we live and although we have a generator that can power our entire house if needed, having the skill to cook on the wood stove is important to me. If for some reason, we can’t get any power for some time, I can still prepare a warm meal for our family. Plus, the wood stove is the center of our home so it’s fitting to have our familiy’s supper prepared on it.
I use an enamel cast iron dutch oven for soups, stews, and chowders and it works great. I can adjust the heat of the wood stove so it’s easy to keep whatever I’m cooking at a nice simmer. The recipe is the same, though, even if you’re using a standard stovetop.
Whether you prepare this chowder over a hot wood stove or on your stovetop, not many other tools are needed. Just a stockpot or dutch oven (here’s the one I use), a cutting board, and a knife for chopping up vegetables. That’s it!
Making Alaskan Smoked Salmon Chowder on the Wood Stove (or any stove!)
- Melt a few tablespoons of butter in a stockpot or dutch oven.
- Add 1 chopped medium onion and cook until soft, 3-5 minutes.
- Pour in chicken stock and bring to a boil.
- Toss in remaining vegetables and return to a boil.
- Lower heat and simmer for about 30 minutes or until vegetables are soft.
- Stir in the smoked salmon, remaining butter, and heavy cream.
- Season with a few dashes of salt and pepper to taste and enjoy!
What to Serve on the Side and Storage
This chowder is a meal in itself, full of healthy ingredients and very hearty and filling. No side dish is needed but some warm sourdough biscuits or a slice of buttered bread is always a welcome addition. You could also skip the potatoes and serve the chowder over pasta or rice.
Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge and use within 3-4 days. I recommend reheating in a pot on the stove but a microwave will work if you’re in a hurry.
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Alaskan Smoked Salmon Chowder
- Cutting Board
- 1/4 cup Butter divided
- 1 Medium Onion chopped
- 1 Carrot chopped
- 1 Celery chopped
- 1 Large Potato chopped
- 2 quarts Chicken Stock
- 16 oz Canned Smoked Salmon
- 1 cup Heavy Cream
- Melt butter in stockpot or dutch oven
- Add chopped onion and cook until soft
- Pour in chicken stock and bring to a boil
- Toss in remaining vegetables and return to a boil
- Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes or until vegetables are soft
- Stir in salmon, heavy cream, and remaining butter
- Serve hot and enjoy!
- Store in airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days