Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Mom's Salmon Stew

My Salmon Stew made with a wild caught salmon fillet
Salmon stew is a great cold weather treat, which I have enjoyed since childhood.  Unfortunately it’s rarely cold in South Texas, and cool for only a short stretch of the calendar, but I eat it anyway! 

I don’t recall ever seeing fresh salmon in the grocery store when I was growing up, and it would have been a bit pricy on our working class budget.  My mom made salmon stew with canned salmon.  I make it with a salmon fillet, which elevates it 100%. 

Salmon stew is actually easy to make.  All you need is salmon, milk, onions, potatoes, a little butter, and some seasoning.  Most would probably call this salmon chowder, but we never had “chowder” at my house. 

It’s always amazing to me that something so simple could be so satisfying and delicious.  We always make sure we make enough to have leftovers. 


Salmon Stew Ingredients

1/2 medium wild caught salmon fillet, about 1 lb

2 medium potatoes, diced small

1 medium onion, diced fine

2 cans evaporated milk

1 qt of whole milk or 1 qt of heavy cream

½ stick butter

2 tsp seasoned salt


Outline of Instructions

Sprinkle salmon fillet with seasoned salt and bake at 350 degrees for about 20 to 30 minutes. 

Simmer onions in 4 cups water in a large pot for about 10 minutes. 

Add diced potatoes and simmer for another 10 minutes. 

Add milk and butter. 

Separate salmon from skin and remove any bones.  Break into pieces and add to pot. 

Heat thoroughly over low heat, but do not boil, about 15 minutes. 


Instructions, Long Version

Line baking pan with foil.  Place salmon fillet, skin side down.  Sprinkle with seasoned salt such as Lawry’s.  Sometimes I use Lawry’s garlic powder with parsley, or Paul Prudhomme’s salmon seasoning. 

Bake salmon fillet at 350 degrees for about 20 to 30 minutes.  I often bake salmon ahead of time, so that it can cool and be easier to separate from the skin and break into bite-sized chunks.  Remove any bones too.  Sometimes I bake a whole fillet, and put half in the freezer for my next salmon stew. 


In a 4 to 6 quart stock pot or Dutch oven, add 4 cups of water and finely diced onions.  Simmer for about 10 minutes.  If you don’t bake salmon ahead of time, start onions while salmon is baking. 

Add diced potatoes and cook another 10 minutes, until potatoes are fork tender.  Then pour off any water in excess of 2 cups.  Do not drain completely, because the onions impart a lot of flavor to the water. 

Add milk.  I like salmon stew with a rich taste, so I usually use evaporated milk and heavy cream or whipping cream.  Since I reserve some of the water from the potatoes and onions, I don’t dilute the evaporated milk further.  Sometimes I use one can of regular and one can of low fat or fat free evaporated milk.  I also use one quart of heavy cream or whipping cream.  You could use half and half, which is less expensive than whipping cream.  If you want to keep the fat content down, you could use whole milk, low fat, or skim. 

Add butter (or skip butter if you want to keep the fat down).  Add salmon chunks. 

Heat thoroughly, but do not boil.

We usually serve with ketchup, 1-2 tablespoons per serving of stew.  My dad and brother like to put crumbled Saltine crackers in their stew. 

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