Recipes: Smoked salmon chowder and velvety squash soup
As we followed the dusty path, the Aspen glowed orange-yellow against the overcast sky, the lake rippled steel gray, and Joyce Mueller described a smoked salmon chowder that her husband, Ted, had made.
It wasn’t only that a smoked salmon chowder sounded like the perfect meal on this cool autumn day, it was also Joyce’s description of her husband sharing the joy of cooking with his grand-daughter which brought back one of my favorite memories of my father.
Shortly after I left my investment banking career in New York, I visited my parents in Fort Lauderdale. My father had three lobster tails in the freezer and as we discussed what to make with them. I suggested we make lobster bisque, one of my favorite things from the farmer’s market in Union Square. My father and I then spent the next five hours combing through his collection of cookbooks until we came up with a recipe of our own.
That soup-making is one of my most cherished memories of my father speaks to the power of meals cooked and shared with people we love. Which is why I’ve gathered three soup recipes from three dear friends to share with you.
Maggie Ducayet and her husband Wally were honored recently for their philanthropic leadership in Summit County. However, before I knew Maggie as the founder of Summit in Honduras, I knew her as the team captain of the St. John’s Community Dinner 4th Tuesday Winter Crew. She’s an accomplished cook and has given many cooking and baking classes. She’s also my friend. So, when I decided to do a food column about soups and friends, it was natural that I call Maggie and ask her to share a recipe.
The third recipe, wild rice soup made with or without chicken is credited to both Maggie and Pat Hoogheem, who are good friends, so I’m not at all surprised that they independently sent similar soups. I’ve mentioned Pat many times in my faith column, but Pat and her husband Verne have also been my hosts for many dinners over the past three years. They are in fact, my “first tasters” for every food column.
P.S. I’m collecting more soup recipes from friends to share in future columns.
Smoked Salmon Chowder From Ted and Joyce Mueller
3 carrots diced
3 slices of bacon cut into 1-inch pieces
2 leeks diced
2 celery stalks diced
3 cups vegetable or chicken stock (or use 2 cups of clam juice and 1 cup of water)
3 cups of half-and-half
2 tablespoons of butter
¼ cup all-purpose flour
¾ – 1 cup of dry white wine (optional)
Scraping of fresh nutmeg
Red pepper flakes
Salt to taste
Add the bacon lardons into the bottom of a stock pot or Dutch oven and allow the bacon to render its fat, add the vegetables to sauté and be coated in the bacon fat. Add a fresh scraping of the nutmeg and one or two grinds of freshly ground pepper. I would not add salt at this point because of the saltiness of the bacon. Hold off on adding salt until after the smoked salmon has been added at the end.
Add 3 cups of stock of your choice and 3 cups of half-and-half and cook over a medium to medium-low heat. Cook the vegetables until the potatoes and carrots are tender. Add three sprigs of thyme to the cooking liquid; its flavor is a lovely compliment to the nutmeg.
In a separate small sauce pan, melt two tablespoons of butter and ¼ cup of flour and allow the flour to cook in the butter for 2-3 minutes to form a roux. This roux will thicken your chowder. Add ¾ to 1 cup of dry white wine to the roux then whisk this roux into the chowder. Bring the chowder back to cooking temperature and add smoked salmon, allowing that to cook for a few minutes for the salmon to reach the same temperature as your chowder. Taste and adjust your seasonings.
Velvety Squash Soup From Maggie Ducayet
1-3 lbs butternut squash
1-2 lbs acorn squash. (I sometimes use about 5 lbs of one kind of squash either acorn or butternut.)
2 cups coarsely chopped onion
2 tsp. canola oil
5 cups fat free, less sodium chicken broth
2/3 cup apple cider
2 tbs. molasses
1 tsp. curry powder
¾ tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
2/3 cup half-and-half
Preheat oven to 425°.
Cut squash in half lengthwise, discard seeds and membranes and put cut side down on jelly roll pan or cookie sheet coated with cooking spray.
Combine onion and oil and toss to coat. Spread onion mixture on pan around squash. Bake at 425 for 45 minutes until squash and onions are tender. Cool slightly and scoop out the pulp from the skins.
Place squash and onions in large Dutch oven. Stir in broth and next five ingredients and bring to a slow boil, reduce heat and simmer. Cool slightly. Place half of squash mixture in food processor, blend until smooth and repeat with remaining mixture. Place in Dutch oven and stir in half and half. Cook over medium heat until warm. Garnish with a dollop of sour cream and a sprig of thyme.
Wild Rice and Mushroom Soup (with our without chicken) From Maggie Ducayet and Pat Hoogheem
1 cup wild rice
1 large yellow onion, diced
4 stalks of celery, diced
1 pound mushrooms, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tsp. fresh oregano
3 tbs. all-purpose flour
1 cup white wine
1 bay leaf
1 or 2 leftover cheese rinds (optional) for deeper flavor
2 tsp. minced fresh rosemary
1 cup whole milk or heavy cream
1 tbs. cider vinegar
2 tsp. salt, divided
** Add bite-sized chunks of chicken after you sauté the vegetables, if you wish.
Bring pot of water to a boil. Add wild rice and 1 tsp. salt and reduce to simmer. Cook for 40-50 minutes, until rice has burst open and tastes tender. Drain, reserving the cooking liquid to use as stock if desired.
While the rice cooks, prepare the rest of the soup. Warm a teaspoon of oil in a Dutch oven or stock pot over medium heat. Add onions and celery and ½ tsp. salt, cook until the onions have softened and turned translucent; 3-5 minutes. Turn the heat down to medium and stir in the mushrooms, cook until the mushrooms have released their liquid and turned dark, golden brown; 15-20 minutes. Don’t skip this step, it is where the soup gets its deep, rich flavor.
Add the garlic and oregano and cook until fragrant; about 30 seconds. Sprinkle the flour over the veggies and stir until the veggies get sticky and there is no visibly dry flour. Increase the heat again to medium high and pour in the wine. Stir and scrape all of the brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Continue until the wine is reduced by half and the liquid has thickened a bit.
Add the bay leaf, cheese rinds (if using) and stock. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Simmer 20 minutes to meld the flavors. Add the rosemary milk (cream) and cooked wild rice. Simmer gently for another 10-15 minutes. Stir in the cider vinegar. YUM!
Suzanne Anderson is the author of “Comfort Me Cookbook,” available at the Next Page Books and Nosh.
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