Salmon and Wild Rice Chowder is a delicious savory fish chowder that is perfect to start off an evening of fine dining or as a hearty dinner with good, crusty bread.
The history of wild rice is an interesting one. It is an aquatic cereal grain that grows wild in isolated lakes and river bed areas located primarily within the continent of North America. This ancient grain has been found in layers of the earth dating back some 12,000 years. In addition to its role as an important food staple for ancestral peoples, it has provided a unique habitat for fish and waterfowl for thousands of years. The methods used for harvesting wild rice have remained unchanged for centuries. Wild Rice also has many uses, as a grain, as a folk medicine, in ornamental use and in cultural events.
“Real” or what many people call “organic wild rice” grows wild in the clear lakes of northern Minnesota and Canada. It is not genetically modified and has not been altered like some of the cultivated paddy wild rice that is available in grocery stores across the country.
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1/2 cup onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon thyme, fresh, minced
- 1/4 cup flour (all-purpose)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 4 to 5 cups milk
- 1 cup wild rice, cooked*
- 1 to 1 1/2 cups salmon (cooked or uncooked), cut into bite-size pieces**
- 1 dash Tabasco Sauce or to taste
- Crackers or bread
Prepare Wild Rice:
1/3 cup uncooked wild rice = approximately 1 cup cooked wild rice.
Place the uncooked wild rice in a fine-mesh strainer and rinse in cold water before cooking; shake to drain.
In a small saucepan, cover the wild rice with 1 cup water. Bring just to a boil, then let simmer, covered, approximately 35 to 45 minutes. Remove from heat (with lid on) and let steam for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, remove lid and fluff with a fork. Wild Rice will not be like regular rice, but will retain its nuttiness.
Photo by Canoe Wild Rice.
In a large soup pot over medium-low heat, add butter and stir until melted. Add onion, garlic, and thyme; saute until soft. Add flour, salt, and pepper, stirring constantly until well blended. Gradually add milk, stirring constantly until sauce comes to a boil and thickens.
Add cooked wild rice and uncooked salmon; simmer very gently for approximately 4 to 5 minutes until salmon is cooked. NOTE: If using cooked salmon, gently simmer until thoroughly heated.
Season to taste with Tabasco, and additional salt and pepper if needed. Remove from heat and serve in soup bowls. Serve with crackers or bread.
Makes 8 servings.
* Wild rice can be precooked ahead of time.
** Lightly-smoked salmon is also excellent in this Salmon and Wild Rice Chowder.