Ahhh….. Clam Chowder!!
New England Clam Chowder is probably the most well known type of clam chowder. There are other versions, such as Manhattan and Rhode Island. New England is a cream based chowder with potatoes and most of the time, onions. Using tomatoes was discouraged and in fact, there was a bill added in Maine in 1939 that made use of tomatoes in clam chowder against the law! Can you even imagine?
This recipe is from Market Street Grill here in Utah. I love their clam chowder and was so happy they put the recipe out on the web so I can make it at home. I do, however like my chowder a bit chunkier then what they serve at the restaurant so I made some modifications to their winning recipe and added a bit of other items. I have taken this chowder to pot lucks and wine club parties and it’s always a huge hit. My hubby knows that when winter hits and the snow starts flying, I will soon be on cookin’ up some tasty chowder sure to make your taste buds dance.
This recipe serves 12, but you can adjust up and down to suit your own needs. You can serve this in a bread bowl or a regular bowl with garlic bread and a salad on the side, just like I did. I copied the recipe below direct from Market Street Grills site, however in the directions I discuss my additions.
Clam Chowder Ingredients:
1 cup potatoes, diced ½ inch
1 cup celery, diced ½ inch
1 cup onion, diced ½ inch
1 cup green pepper, diced ½ inch
1 cup leeks, diced ½ inch
¾ cup chopped clams (canned or fresh)
¾ tablespoon coarse ground black pepper
1 ½ tablespoon salt
¾ tablespoon whole thyme
6 bay leaves
1 teaspoon Tabasco
¾ cup sherry wine (optional)
2 cups water
¾ cup clam juice (drained from canned clams or purchased separately in can)
¾ cup butter, melted
1 cup flour
2 quarts half-and-half
I always find it best to bring all my ingredients out first, measure and chop everything before I even turn on a burner. It saves time and frustration because you don’t want to be looking for a certain measuring spoon while something may be burning.
To make the chowder: Combine melted butter and flour in oven-proof container and bake at 325 degrees for 30 minutes. It looks like thick glue when you start out and comes out a tan color and when mixed into the chowder later, it thickens it right up.
In large saucepan, combine remaining ingredients except half-and-half. Now, I doubled the amount of potato since I like my chowder chunkier then the recipe calls for. I also doubled the amount of clams. By doing this, I also had to add more water and wine to ensure everything cooked up nice. When I made this chowder, I used Pinot Grigio instead of the sherry wine since I already had some in the house.
|Look at all those yummy clams!!|
|Everyone into the pool!|
Simmer until potatoes are thoroughly cooked. Stir butter-flour mixture into chowder and stir until thick. Mixture will be slightly less thick than cookie dough.
Remove chowder from heat. Stir in half-and-half until blended. The recipe calls for two quarts. I use Fat Free Half & Half. It costs a bit more then the regular version, however it cuts down on some of the calories and I do not think it affects the taste at all. I pour in the first quart, stir, then add about half the second quart since I do like my chowder thicker. I suggest you taste test this along the way and customize it to what your family loves.
Return to the stove and heat to serving temperature, stirring occasionally.
This soup is warm and yummy and is perfect for those snowy days when you cannot get warm. I live in Utah and lately, our high temperature during the day is below freezing! Warm soup on a cold day is the ultimate comfort food. I served my soup with a side salad and some yummy very garlicky bread.