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Recipe for salmon chipotle chowder with orzo and corn

Salmon chipotle chowder

It was a dark and stormy night, and the wind blew, and the swirling snow piled up to a height above my knees. Safe and warm inside the house, I hankered for soup, but not just any soup. A good, thick, New England soup. A chowder. And I had to work with what I found in the pantry. Lucky for me, The Perfect Pantry yielded some treasures, and what began as a soup to fill an immediate need turned into a soup so good I ate it twice in one week. I was delighted to find salmon in the freezer, but it's not integral to the soup; use frozen shrimp, bits of leftover chicken, or omit the protein altogether. Whenever I buy a can of chipotle chiles in adobo, I open it immediately and empty the contents into a container with a tight-fitting lid. I keep that in the refrigerator for months, to perk up everything from mayonnaise to scrambled eggs. It's a key element in the success of this recipe, as is the roux that transforms this soup into a chowder.

Salmon chipotle chowder with orzo and corn

From the pantry, you'll need: butter, all-purpose flour, chipotle peppers in adobo, chicken stock, orzo, kosher salt, fresh black pepper.

Serves 4.


2 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1 large leek (or onion), trimmed and chopped
1 Tbsp adobo sauce from a can of chipotle chiles (or 1/2 of a chipotle, minced)
1 quart chicken stock
2 cups frozen organic corn
1/2 cup orzo
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp fresh black pepper
1 lb salmon, cut into large chunks
2 Tbsp cream or 1/4 cup milk (optional)


In a small Dutch oven or heavy soup pot, melt the butter over medium heat. With a wooden spoon, stir in the flour, and keep stirring until the butter and flour combine. (This is called a roux.) Add the leek, and continue stirring. The mixture will be very dry, so be sure it doesn't burn. Cook for 1-2 minutes, until the leek begins to get translucent.

Stir the adobo sauce into the chicken stock, and pour the mixture into the pot. Stir to break up any clumps. After the soup boils, reduce heat to low, and add the corn, orzo, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently and scraping up any bits that stick to the bottom of the pan, for 10 minutes, until the orzo is almost soft. Add the salmon, and the cream or milk. Stir, and cook over low heat, giving an occasional stir, for 5 minutes or until the fish is cooked and breaks up easily. Taste, and adjust with more black pepper, if needed.

Serve hot, or let cool completely and freeze.

[Printer-friendly recipe.]

More recipes in The Perfect Pantry:
Leek, potato and salmon soup
Curried mushroom, bean and barley soup
Curried orzo chicken salad
Twisted Three Sisters soup

Other recipes that use these pantry ingredients:
Triple corn soup, from FatFree Vegan Kitchen
Creamy salmon miso soup, from No Recipes
Greek orzo and chicken soup, from Recipe Girl
Salmon chowder, from Kitchen Parade
Chinese crab and corn soup, from Apple Pie, Patis and Pate Recipes

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This looks amazing!

The soup looks delicious and nutritious. Bookmarked!

I have a can of chipotles living in a fridge container, too. I love them.

With a little tweaking, this could make the base for a killer tortilla soup, too. Looks wonderful!

Looks warm and comforting! I could use some right now!

Dee, this soup is as delicious as it looks!

Nisrine, thanks so much.

Jenni, I can't imagine my fridge without a container of chipotles in adobo in it. Without the roux for thickener, it really would be the start of a tortilla soup.

Pam, warm and comforting is the name of the game this winter. So cold and snowy here.

Oh, I can't wait to try this! I woke up this morning thinking, "I want to make soup - better check with Lydia". And here we are ; )

Lydia, I'm so glad to know that the chipotles in adobo can be stored a month in the fridge! I often freeze "plops" (my very technical term) of adobo sauce, curry paste, and tomato paste to have on hand. I also keep the foil packs of salmon on hand in the pantry - yes, fresh/frozen salmon would be better, but that is often not in the food budget. And I always have some chicken pieces in the freezer!

I do a similar thing with my chipotles as well, except I run them through the food processor first and turn them into a paste. I can then add them to everything! I have so much salmon in my freezer right now, I am definitely going to make this for my work lunch next week.

Looks yummy and I like that is rich. Plus, I am a salmon fan.

Wow! great recipe and I am with Teresa above - I freeze leftover "bits" of everything - I had no idea I could re-package and store long-term in the fridge, the Chipolte Chiles! I never use a whole can at once.
THANKS for this recipe and tip!

I have to admit I've not yet tried any soup with salmon in it, ever. This recipe sounds lovely though, and is as tempting as any I've ever seen. I love the flavor of chipotle!

Steve-Anna, what a lovely thing to say! Lately, every day has felt like a soup day here in Rhode Island's snow belt, but soup is great for any time and any weather.

Teresa, the chipotles in adobo can be stored for longer than a month, as long as you remove them from the original can and keep them in a non-reactive container. The adobo is a vinegar-based sauce, so it's a natural preservative.

Nicole, that's a great time-saving idea (one I'm going to borrow!), since every recipe calls for chopping the peppers anyway. Thanks.

Curatare, the salmon definitely adds a richness to this chowder.

Carol, I'm not sure anyone uses an entire can of chipotles in adobo at one time! Well, maybe for a very large pot of chili.

Sandie, up until a couple of years ago, I'd never put salmon in soup, either. But it's delicious and a bit sweet, and now I love it. It's a great way to use frozen salmon fillets, which often lose their texture a little bit in the defrosting process.

It's soup weather for everyone, even in
Orlando! This looks absolutely lovely!

I love corn. So I'm sure I'm going to love this. Thanks!

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