River's Copper River Chowder


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10 quarts

Ingredients Nutrition

  • For stock
  • 7 quarts water
  • 2 meaty salmon back fish bones, and other trim, from 2 30 to 40 lb. copper river king salmons
  • 1 large vidalia onion, chopped
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 scallions, chopped, including leaves
  • 2 large carrots, chopped
  • 4 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon dill
  • 1 teaspoon herbes de provence
  • 12-1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • For chowder
  • 12 gallon half-and-half
  • 12 gallon milk
  • 6 cups strong salmon fish stock, made with stock ingredients above
  • 4 -5 large red potatoes, diced
  • 8 tablespoons butter (optional)
  • 4 lbs corn kernels, preferably sweet backyard corn
  • 2 cups madeira wine (optional)
  • 1 lb bacon, ends and pieces, cut up into small pieces
  • 1 -2 teaspoon dill
  • 14-12 teaspoon thyme
  • 14-12 teaspoon basil
  • 14-12 teaspoon rosemary
  • 14-12 teaspoon marjoram
  • 12-1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon organic culinary-grade lavender (optional)
  • 12 cups copper river salmon, from trim
  • 4 bay leaves (preferably California Bay Laurel, but the more commonly-found and cheaper Turkish will do fine)


  1. First, make salmon stock: Cut up the salmon trim and split it between two large stockpots, unless you have a stockpot large enough to hold everything.
  2. Cover with water.
  3. Skim scum as it appears.
  4. Simmer just until the salmon meat is cooked, then take out the trim and pick all the meat off the bones.
  5. Reserve the meat and refrigerate.
  6. Put the bones, fins, and tails back into one of the stockpots.
  7. Cook on low for an hour or two, skimming off scum.
  8. Take out the rest of the salmon trim.
  9. Add the chopped veggies and spices.
  10. Simmer over low to medium heat until reduced by about 2/3.
  11. Strain through dampened cheesecloth, pressing out all the liquid or as much of it as you can get.
  12. Dump the mass of vegetables and what few bones remain, and reserve and measure the liquid.
  13. You should have about 6 cups; If there's more, reduce further or use as is.
  14. Second, make the chowder using the stock: Fry the bacon in a large stockpot.
  15. Pour off most of the bacon fat, saving just a little to coat the bottom of the pan.
  16. Add half-and-half and stock.
  17. Turn heat midway between low and medium.
  18. Add salmon meat.
  19. Add potatoes.
  20. Add pepper, dill, thyme, basil, rosemary, marjoram, and lavender.
  21. Simmer slowly for 1/2 hour to give the flavors a chance to marry.
  22. Get out a second stockpot and split the above ingredients between the two.
  23. Add 1 quart milk to each pot.
  24. Add 4 tbsp (1/2 stick) butter to each pot, if you're using butter.
  25. Add half the corn to each pot.
  26. Add two bay leaves to each pot.
  27. Bring both pots to a gentle simmer and cover most of the way (the lid should be cockeyed to allow a little steam to escape).
  28. Let simmer on low heat for about 3 hours, being careful not to let it boil; stir occasionally.
  29. Add half the Madeira (if you're using it) to each pot and simmer for another half hour.
  30. Serve.

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