Sunday, October 28, 2012

New England Clam Chowder

Autumn comes early in Quebec. This is our second year here, and like last year, the weather started to change in late August. You can already see the leaves falling and the colors changing.

With the change to colder temperature, it naturally makes us all want to have something warm. This is also the time of the year that comfort food starts to come to the top of the list. One of my favorite classics is clam chowder. I'll never forget that the best clam chowder we ever had was at a restaurant in Newport. Other than that, I've had tons of bad chowders, most of which tend to have very few clams and be overly salty.


Even though I like the New England clam chowder, most of the time it can also be overly thick and floury to me. Not to mention that it contains too much cream, which can be a problem for someone like me and my hubby, who have an allergic reaction to dairy products. I've decided to make my own that is healthier and lighter than the original classic but still full of flavor. 


It takes a few stages to make this soup, but when you enjoy it in the end, you'll be glad that you took the time, and you can be proud of yourself. Don't be afraid to make the chowder ahead of time, especially if you're serving guests and have a lot to do already. In fact, I find that the longer it sits, the more flavorful it gets. You can pair it with saltine crackers, which is the traditional way to enjoy it, but I like it just as much with a good piece of toasted sourdough or baguette.

I would also like to take a little moment here to thank a few readers whom I don't know for supporting this blog and who were kind enough to write me some positive feedback. I really appreciate your letting me know what you like and of course, it also makes me very happy to know that someone out there is actually reading our posts!


New England Clam Chowder (6 servings)

To cook the clams and make the clam liquor:

About 25-30 cherry stone clams (see instructions on how to store or clean clams)

1 1/2 t canola oil

1 small clove of garlic, crushed

A: 1/2 C wine
    1 1/2 C water

a piece of paper towel

1. In a large saucepan, heat 1 1/2 t canola oil. Add the garlic and cook for a minute until fragrant, add the clams and A. Cover and cook for 7-10 minutes until all the clams open. Transfer the cooked clams to a clean bowl and let cool. (If some clams are still closed, remove the open clams from the pan and continue to cook the closed ones for another minute or two.)

2. Set a piece of paper towel in a strainer. Strain the broth.

3. Remove the clams from their shells. Place the meat in the freezer for about 20 minutes until it becomes a little firm but not quite frozen. Take them out and roughly chop them. Keep them in an airtight container and refrigerated until use. (The reason I do this is because you won't lose the clam juice if you chop them after they're slightly frozen.)

To make the chowder:

6 pieces of bacon, cut into small strips

1 T butter

B: 1 medium size white onion, peeled and cut into 1/4" dice (I used red onion because
    that was what I had.)
    3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
    2 stalks of celery, peeled and cut into 1/4" dice
    1 t fresh thyme leaves
    1/4 t dried oregano
    1 bay leave

1 1/2 T flour
about 2-2 1/2 C clam liquor (see recipe above)

1 lb potatoes, cut into 1/2" dice (you can peel them if you'd like, but I like to keep them whole myself)

1 1/2 T Worcestershire sauce

C: cooked and chopped clams (see recipe above)
    1/2 C  heavy cream

1/4 C chopped parsley

1. Heat a 4-6 qt large stock pot, cook the bacon pieces over low heat. Once they have rendered some fat, increase the heat and cook until slightly golden.

2. Spoon out half of the bacon fat to discard and add 1 T butter to the rest of the fat. Sauté B in the pot, stirring occasionally until soft without letting them brown, about 10 minutes.

3. Add the 1 1/2 T flour and cook for 1 minute, stirring continually to mix well with the fat.

4. Add the broth and stir more vigorously so it won't get lumpy. Then add the potatoes. Bring to a boil and let simmer for 12-15 minutes until the potatoes just start to get soft. Discard the bay leaf and add the Worcestershire sauce.

5. Add C and cook for another minute or two. Sprinkle with parsley on top of the chowder.

*I find that the chowder tasted even better after sitting in the fridge for at least a few hours or overnight. If you'd like to do that, instead of serving right away, follow the procedure until step 4. When you're ready to serve it the next day, reheat it fully then follow step 5 to finish the chowder.


2sisterset1cat said...

請快點生出中文菜單,我迫不及待要做給法..咳咳!做給兩老吃惹... :P

Jessica wang said...


2sisterset1cat said...

If my writing the recipe in Chinese will make you cook, yes, I will try my best!

2sisterset1cat said...

To Jessica: 謝謝妳這麼說!拍這些照片時,還是用那老舊的相機拍的,而且我應該多跟Stacey學習