Friday, February 22, 2013

New England Clam Chowder

The perfect bowl of clam chowder
 There is a great debate over which is better New England or Manhattan Clam Chowder. There is no such debate in our house. We all agree that New England Clam Chowder is superior. I think I made Manhattan Clam Chowder once. If I am going to make a tomato based seafood stew/soup it is going to be a bouillabaisse or cioppino. This is a clam chowder recipe that has been developed over years. I finally measured everything as I made it so that Katie could make it someday. I think it her favorite soup, at least for now. The secret is the seasonings. I know it looks like a lot of herbs and it is. But it is awesome and just right. Also the carrots add just a bit of sweetness to the soup. I think the perfect balance with the herbs. Every once in awhile, I add a bit of cayenne- just to spice up the soup. I don't like celery in my clam chowder but if you do go ahead and add some diced celery with the carrots.  
The herb mixture

New England Clam Chowder

3 Slices of Bacon, Finely Sliced
1/2 cup (75 g) of Onions, Diced
1/2 Cup (75 g) of Carrots, Diced
3 Small Potatoes (450 g), Peeled and Diced
3 Garlic Cloves, Minced
1/8 Tsp Each of Dried Oregano, Parsley, Dill, Basil, and Rosemary
1/16 Tsp Each of Dried Marjoram, Tarragon and Thyme
1 Tbsp Flour
2 Cans (6.5 oz. 184 g each) of Clams, Chopped
1 Cup (240 ml) of  Clam Juice (You should have enough from the Canned Clams)
1 Cup (240 ml) of Milk
1/2 Cup (120 ml) of Half and Half
1/4 Tsp of White Pepper

In a heavy-bottomed dutch oven or large sauce pan, sauté bacon.
Bacon and butter is there anything better?
Once bacon is starting to brown and is releasing its grease, lower heat and add onion, carrots, potatoes, garlic and the herbs.
Everything chopped and ready to go
Heat for approximately 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
An amazing mixture
(Take a moment to savor the incredible mix of bacon, onion, garlic, and herbs). Do not allow to brown. Drain clams and set aside, reserving the juice. Slowly stir in the flour and clam juices. Bring to a boil; reduce heat. Add the half and half and milk and simmer 20-30 minutes until the potatoes are tender.
A low slow simmer works best
Add white pepper and clams. Heat on low until clams are heated through approximately 5 minutes. Do not allow to boil, as this toughens the clams. 

The bottom line: will I make this again? Yes, I love it. This is my favorite clam chowder. To quote my husband "it rocks." 

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