Simple Salmon Chowder

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10 minutes
25 minutes
Simple Salmon Chowder

A simple Salmon Chowder recipe using fresh salmon and fennel bulb, that can be made in about 30 minutes on the stovetop. Low carb, Keto and dairy-free adaptable!


  • 23 tablespoons olive oil (or butter)
  • 1 onion, diced (or sub 2 leeks, sliced or 2 fat shallots)
  • 1 small fennel bulb, 1 1/2 cups diced
  • 1 cup celery, sliced
  • 24 garlic cloves, rough chopped
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon thyme (dry, or 2 teaspoons fresh)
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/3 cup vermouth, cooking sherry or white wine (or leave it out, see notes)
  • 3 cups fish or chicken stock- if using chicken broth see notes, on how to enhance
  • 3/4 lb baby potatoes, thinly sliced (1/4 inch thick)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 lb salmon, skinless.  (or ok to sub other fish like cod or shrimp), cut into 1 –2 inch pieces ( the more uniform, the better)
  • 2 cups whole milk (or half & half or a combo, or dairy-free milk like coconut milk, or 1/2– 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • Garnish: fennel fronds, lemon wedges, fresh dill or tarragon.


Heat oil over medium heat, and saute onion, fennel and celery until fragrant, 5-6 minutes. Add garlic, fennel seeds, thyme and saute two more minutes, stirring. Add the smoked paprika.

Add vermouth, and cook it off, about 1-2 minutes. Add stock, salt, thyme and bay, and bring to a simmer over high heat. Add potatoes and stir. Bring to a simmer, cover and simmer over med-low heat until tender, about 8-10 minutes (check at 7 mins, be careful to not overcook).  While this is cooking prep the salmon.

Cut salmon into 2-inch pieces, removing any of the brown fat ( see notes) and bones. Sprinkle lightly with salt.Once the potatoes are just fork-tender, add the milk and bring to a low simmer (do not boil) and add the salmon, gently poaching it in the soup for just about  2 minutes. Turn heat off.  Fish will continue to cook. If you continue to simmer the soup any longer it may cause a slight curdling. ( Don’t worry, it’s still edible, but not as pretty.)  Flake the fish apart, into bite-sized pieces, with a fork.

Taste, adjust seasonings to your liking and serve immediately.

Garnish with fennel fronds, lemon wedges, fresh dill or tarragon.

Soup will keep 3 days in the fridge.


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