Chowder, which is a type of vegetable or seafood stew, is usually made with dairy and grains. However, getting the consistency of a thick, satisfying, and hearty soup is quite obtainable through using whole food sources. In today’s recipe, I utilize white fleshed, or, “Japanese” sweet potatoes, which give the chowder its signature, creamy texture. Though you may have never heard of white sweet potatoes, they are quite common in most grocery stores. Mine had an off-white colored skin, but other versions may also be red, purple, or even the typical brown tone. Once, my mother purchased this variety without even realizing it until we cut into the sweet potato to roast.
It is hard to explain the difference between orange and white sweet potatoes, as I have only had them once or twice, and online nutritional data is limited. From my own research, the orange variety is higher in vitamin A, however, the white sweet potato has more vitamin C. Either way, you are getting a good amount of nutrients. Though the white variety is dryer and more dense, the amount of carbohydrates per serving is exactly the same, while the high potassium content is also similar. All in all, I would not worry about the differences between the two, except that Japanese sweet potatoes are great, nightshade-free substitutes for the regular, white potato in chowder. Though this dish would be undoubtably fantastic with orange sweet potatoes, tricking a picky teenager (aka my younger brother) who “hates” them, might not work. However, in the case of using a white version, my brother had no idea, and therefore I have decided he never will, as I plan to use this technique for future dishes.
A few notes beyond the sweet potatoes in today’s recipe, if you cannot tolerate coconut products, simply remove and use an extra cup of stock, or skip the extra liquid all together. It may come out a bit lighter, however, you can always make up for the lack of fat with adding some extra lard or ghee. You may notice in the step-by-step photos below that my salmon fillets look very unusual. This is due to the fact that I used salmon belly, an incredibly inexpensive ($1 per lb), underused and appreciated piece of the fish. Though you will not see this part of the salmon presented in the show cases up front, simply ask the fish filleters for this prize piece of fish and they more than likely can “hook you up” (no pun intended). As long as the market sells salmon fillets, and they haven’t already given the belly to a nearby sushi restaurant, finding it should be a breeze on not only you, but also your wallet. Much like the belly meat of a tuna, salmon belly is favored for shake sushi, as it has an oilier texture and rich flavor. These qualities in fish are the absolute best, yet tend to be avoided due to America’s unnecessary case of fat phobia. However, this aversion to fatty fish is great for those aware of the fact that fat, especially from salmon, is amazing for the body. If you are not a fan of handling raw fish, buying the equivalent amount of canned, wild caught salmon, works just as well. In the end, between the succulent salmon belly, smooth texture of the sweet potatoes, and subtle, background flavors of leek, celery, and onion, this fish chowder was a hit with the entire family.
Hearty Fish Chowder
- 1 small, purple onion – diced
- 1 stalk of leek (1/2 cup) – chopped
- 3 medium stalks of celery (1 cup) – chopped
- 2 medium, white fleshed sweet potatoes (5-6 cups) – shredded
- 2 cups baby spinach
- 1/2 cup parsley – chopped
- 1 large clove of garlic – chopped
- 1 tbsp sea salt
- 1 tbsp fish sauce (or) 2 tsp more sea salt
- 2 lb fresh salmon fillets (or) canned wild salmon
- 1 cup coconut milk (or) 1 extra cup of stock
- 5 cups chicken stock
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- Pork Dust (optional)
- Preheat oven broiler to high.
- In a foil lined baking pan, place salmon fillets in a single layer, sprinkling with 2 tsp sea salt.
- Place under broiler and allow to cook 5 minutes.
- Once browned, take salmon out of the oven, setting aside for later.
- In a food processor, shred sweet potato.
- In a large soup pot, heat olive oil over medium low heat.
- Add chopped celery, onion, garlic, and leek, sauteing for 5-8 minutes until slightly soft.
- Add 5 cups of chicken stock, coconut milk, fish sauce, and remaining 1 tsp of sea salt to the pot, and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat.
- Next, stir in shredded sweet potato, turning heat to medium-low, and allow the mixture to simmer for 5-10 minutes until the sweet potato has become soft.
- Fitting the food processor with the “S” blade, ladle 3 cups of the soup into the food processor, running until completely smooth.
- Pour the smooth mixture back into the pot and stir until incorporated.
- Chop up salmon pieces into bite-size chunks, adding to the soup to heat through.
- When ready to serve, stir in baby spinach and parsley until wilted.
- Top with pork dust “bread crumbs” and enjoy!
Philippians 4:6 “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. ”