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Salmon Chowder with Leeks & Parsnips

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5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Yield 8 –9 cups (5 servings)
Category Main Dish
Cuisine American
Author Lauren Grant


A light and vibrant salmon chowder made with leeks, parsnips, fresh herbs and a splash of vermouth or wine. Serve on it's own or pair with your favorite dinner roll. 


  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil or unsalted butter
  • 2 leeks, trimmed, halved lengthwise and cut into ½-inch thick slices (white and light green parts only)
  • 2 dried bay leaves
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh garlic
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme, or 1 teaspoon dried
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • Kosher salt and black pepper
  • ¼ cup vermouth or dry white wine, optional
  • 4 cups seafood stock *
  • ¾ –1 pound parsnips, cut into ½ inch pieces (about 3 large parsnips)
  • 4 stalks celery cut into ¼-inch thick slices (2 cups)
  • 1 pound skinless wild-caught salmon fillet, cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • ¼ cup half-and-half, optional
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill


  • Halve leek lengthwise and cut into ¼-inch-thick slices; transfer to a large bowl and cover with cold water. Shimmy leek slices around in water; let rest 10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon or spider (or hands) strain leeks from water, being careful not to kick up dirt at bottom of bowl. Transfer to a clean kitchen towel and dab/rub to dry. 
  • Heat oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add leeks, bay leaves, garlic, thyme, red pepper flakes, and ¾ teaspoon salt; cook until leeks start to soften but not brown, about 6 minutes. 
    diced leeks, garlic and thyme in a large pot with a wooden spoon set in it
  • Add vermouth (or wine) and cook until nearly evaporated. Stir in stock, parsnips, and celery; increase heat to high and bring to a boil then reduce heat to medium and simmer, partially covered, until parsnips are fork-tender, 10 minutes.
  • Whisk together milk and cornstarch, add to pot and return soup to a simmer.
    creamy soup in a large pot with a wooden spoon
  • Season salmon with ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper, add to soup, cover and remove from heat; let sit 3 minutes. 
    chunks of salmon and vegetables in a creamy broth in a large pot with a wooden spoon
  • Stir in dill and chives and season with salt and pepper to taste; serve immediately.
    chunks of salmon and vegetables in a creamy broth in a large pot with a wooden spoon


Seafood stock: seafood stock can be found in 32-ounce boxes or 14.5 ounce cans. If all you can find are the 14.5 ounce cans, use two cans + ½ cup water. If you can’t find seafood stock, substitute with 2 cups (two 8-ounce bottles) clam juice + 2 cups water. I don't recommend swapping the seafood stock for chicken stock as it isn't as flavorful.
Dairy-free: use unsweetened and unflavored nut or soy milk, or canned coconut milk instead of the whole dairy milk.
Vermouth / wine: either work great here. If you want to use something even more classic, use a splash of pernod instead. Start with 2 tablespoons.


Calories: 396kcalCarbohydrates: 22gProtein: 27gFat: 20gSaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 64mgSodium: 872mgFiber: 4gSugar: 10g
Keywords chowder, fish chowder, healthy chowder, salmon chowder, salmon soup, seafood chowder
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