Friday, February 11, 2011

New England Clam Chowder

The winter chill has been getting to me. Despite the fact that there's been a pretty decent thaw going on, I still find that the darkness left by an early sunset in winter leaves me craving heavier foods. One of those heavier, heavenly foods is clam chowder.

I had never made clam chowder before, but I found a decent recipe and tried it. It came out delicious! Even Chris, who doesn't normally like clam chowder, actually likes this! I figured anything that changes Chris's opinion is worth posting about. Here's what you need:
  • 5 slices of bacon
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 2 cups water
  • 4 cups peeled and cubed potatoes (about 4 large potatoes - I used red)
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • pepper (to taste)
  • 3 cups half-and-half
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 20 ounces minced, canned clams and their respective juices.
NOTES: If you want to thicken this chowder (it may be too watery for your taste; some
people like it really thick and chunky), add some flour to the chowder after step #4 until it's the consistency you prefer. You could also add flour to maybe the half and half to make it thicker before pouring it in to the chowder in step #3.
Here's how to prepare it:
  1. Take your strips of bacon and chop 'em up into bits around 1/2"x1/2". In a stock pot or dutch oven (I use my dutch oven almost every day), toss in your bacon bits. Let'em cook up until they're crisp-ish. Toss in your onions and cook. I like to get a fond going on the bottom to carry over the flavor of onion and bacon.
  2. Open and drain your clams, conserving the clam juice. Once your onions are good and cooked, throw in your potatoes, clam juice and water. You want to let those potatoes cook for 20 minutes or so, until they're fork-tender. If they need more time, don't be afraid to cook them for longer.
  3. Once you've got those 'taters boiled up nice, add your butter and let it melt down. Once the butter has dissipated into the chowder, add your half and half and clams.
  4. Cook everything for around 5 minutes, or until thoroughly heated. Do not allow everything to boil. Add salt and pepper to taste.
There are about a million ways to spin the basic recipe - feel free to add or subtract your own alterations, explore, and see what you like in your chowder. Some people add more veggies (which I will probably try), add more clams, leave out a lot of the potatoes, use different potatoes - whatever you like to do, you can do it!

1 comment:

ImplausibleYarn said...

Your recipe looks great! I've never made it myself. When I get a hankering I go to cappy's, but this looks like something even I could accomplish.