I vow that this is the last soup I will make until fall.
Okay, I can’t exactly make that promise. But it is the last soup that I have planned for a while. Are you shocked? Me, too.
As you know, I detest milk, but I love a good seafood chowder. Chowders generally contain some heavy cream; it’s pretty much essential to a good chowder. So, I made it my personal challenge to make a dairy free chowder that tastes as good as the dairy version.
Do you want to know the secret? Cashew milk. Cashew milk is rich and creamy, and it is pretty neutral in flavor. It worked like a dream in this salmon chowder.
The rest of the salmon chowder is pretty traditional. Onions, leeks and carrots cooked down until tender. A little roux made using all-purpose gluten free flour (a simple swap). A little white wine for added flavor, plenty of vegetable broth, tender potatoes, sweet corn, and of course good hearty wild- caught salmon. Plus a little dill because dill and salmon are meant to be. Then, the cashew milk to save the day!
Normally in a Salmon Chowder, or any kind of seafood chowder for that matter, you would use some fish stock. Store-bought, prepackaged fish stock is hard to find! Maybe if I lived in Maine or Florida where fresh fish is pretty much a lifestyle – must be nice – it would be easier to find a good quality fish stock. But here in Iowa, I had no such luck.
Actually, I did find one prepackaged fish stock. I gave it a try when I tested the recipe. I don’t do this often with my tested recipes, but we ended up straining out the salmon (the only good part) and discarding the remainder of the soup. The base of the soup had almost a fishy undertone to it, and in a bad way.
If you are a rock star and want to make your own fish stock, then go for it! If you find a good recipe, I’m sure it would make your Dairy Free Salmon Chowder even more amazing. But I really wasn’t in the mood for boiling fish parts. I can do chicken bones, but I’m not so sure about fish heads and bones. For this girl it’s some trusty, non-fishy-tasting, yet flavorful vegetable stock.
The final results of my Dairy Free Salmon Chowder turned out to be delicious. The chowder is rich and creamy from the cashew milk, and flavorful thanks to the vegetable stock and the white wine. The hint of fresh dill goes perfect with the tender, flaky salmon and the tender potatoes and sweet corn.
Guess what! You won’t even miss the heavy cream, I swear.
I hope you give this Dairy Free Salmon Chowder a try. Hurry before soup season is over!
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 white onion, chopped
- 3 leeks, white/light green parts only, chopped
- 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 tablespoons gluten free all-purpose flour
- 1 cup dry white wine (such as Chardonnay, Pino Grigio, or Sauvignon Blanc)
- 4 cups vegetable stock (can sub fish stock if you have access to a good quality fresh stock)
- 3 Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into cubes
- 1 cup frozen sweet corn (can use fresh if in season)
- 1 pound wild-caught good quality boneless salmon, cut into ¾ inch chunks*
- ½ cup unsweetened, unflavored cashew milk
- 1 tablespoon fresh dill, chopped
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- Heat a large stew pot or Dutch oven over medium-low heat. Add the oil to heat it. Add the onions, leeks, and carrots. Saute for 5 minutes, or until tender. Add the garlic and saute for 1 minute.
- Add the all-purpose gluten free flour and cook for 3 minutes, stirring constantly. The flour should be a light brown color and the raw flour smell should be cooked out.
- Add the white wine. Deglaze the bottom of the pan using your spoon to scrape up all the stuck- on bits at the bottom. Turn your heat up to high and bring the white wine to a boil, allowing the alcohol to cook out.
- Keeping the heat on high add the vegetable stock and the potatoes. Cover and allow it to come to a boil. Reduce to a simmer. Simmer covered for 6 to 8 minutes, or until the potatoes are fork- tender.
- Turn the heat up to high and add the frozen corn. Allow it to defrost, about 2 minutes.
- Turn the heat down to medium-low and stir in the salmon and the cashew milk. Allow the salmon to cook all the way through, about 3 minutes. The salmon should be opaque, firm to the touch and flaky when it is cooked. Be careful not to overcook the salmon; it will turn rubbery. Once the salmon is cooked, immediately remove the pot from the heat.
- Stir in the dill and salt and pepper. Taste and adjust the seasoning as needed.
- Ladle into bowls and serve immediately. Garnish with extra dill, if desired.
- Store leftovers in the fridge for up to 5 days. Reheat leftovers slowly/gently, being careful not to make the salmon rubbery.
Recipe is heavily adapted from Martha Stewart.