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
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.
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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