Monday, February 18, 2013

New England Clam Chowder

My husband grew up eating his Grandmother and Great Grandmothers Homemade Clam Chowder.  We went grocery shopping this weekend together and as I grabbed a couple cans of clams off the shelf, he exclaimed, "You should make some Clam Chowder!"  The excitement in his eyes when I said I planned on it, completely melted my heart.  As this was cooking, he reminiced about staying at the Seaside beachhouse in the 80's.  The family would go Clamming on the beach. Then the Grandmas would make a batch of chowder with the fresh Razor Clams that everyone had dug. This is one of the many dinners that will be repeated for my husband just to give him a happy place. 

This is what the Simpsons call comfort food.

You will need:
1 C Precooked Bacon Bits
1 Tbsp Minced Garlic
1/2 Large Yellow Onion
6 Stalks of Celery
8-10 Red Potatoes
Olive Oil
4 C Milk + 1 C for thickening
2 C Half/Half (or swap for milk)
4 Cans Clams (with the juice)
Fresh Parsley, Thyme
Ground Red Pepper flakes
Celery Salt, Garlic Salt
Corn starch 
Wash and Peel (almost completely) potatoes.  Chop with large grate on chopper so you have about 1" cubes.  After potatoes are chopped, microwave the chunks for about 2 minutes to cook them quickly. Chop celery & onion on same grate.

In a large pot, put about 2 tbsp olive oil with the onion, garlic & celery.  Saute for a couple mins then add bacon bits.  Allow the bacon to excrete a bit of grease and then add the potatoes.

Cook on high heat (stirring frequently) until the onions and celery are translucent.  Add the clam juice (just the juice) and let everything come to a simmer. Then add the milk, half/half, thyme, and red pepper.

Bring everything to a simmer again then assess the thickness.  Start thickening by adding 1/4 c cornstarch with 1/4 c cold milk to the pot until desired thickness has been achieved.

Taste & season, then add clams and fresh parsley at the end.

I served in sourdough bread bowls.

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