Chowdah This World!
You want this. I know you do. Dreaming of those summer days, but looking forward for those cozy fall nights? Read on for this super easy clam chowder recipe that my Dad (who just happens to be a wonderful cook!!) shared with me. Every time we visit home this is a first request. This meal makes me so happy and I hope that it does the same for you...or at least will leave you feeling oh-so-satistfied during the change of season that is upon us. This may not be the healthiest thing on the planet, but like is all about balance...and this chowdah really is outta this world!Ingredients: - 2 quarts fresh clam juice - 2 quarts vegetable or chicken stock - 5 large russet potatoes (diced) - 1 cup celery (diced) - 2 large yellow onions (diced) - salt - pepper - parsley (a few sprigs) - 2-3 bayleaves - 2-6 slices thick smoked bacon (or fresh corn and shitake mushrooms if you do not want the bacon) - 1 cup diced shallots - 4 pounds whole, fresh littleneck or cherry clams - 1 stick unsalted butter - 1 cup flour - 1 cup light cream - a nice wine to drink while cooking (optional:)) Directions: - You are going to first make your stock. So, on medium heat, pour 2 quarts fresh clam juice into a large stock pot and match it with equal parts vegetable or chicken stock (do not use fish stock bc it tastes too fishy!). - Wash and dice 5 large russet potatoes (leave skin on for added nutrients!), 1 cup diced celery and two large yellow onions and add to the same pot. Stir. - Now add 2-3 bayleaves, salt & pepper to taste (caution with salt b/c clam juice is generally salted) into pot. Stir. - Boil until the potatoes are al dente (15 mins or so) and turn down to simmer. - While broth is cooking, in a separate saute pan take 5-6 slices of thick sliced smoked bacon, dice and saute on medium-low heat. This will render the fat (cook slow to cook fat out). Attention veggies: if you are not a fan of bacon, add shiitake mushrooms or corn and skip the bacon!! - If using bacon, when the fat is cooked out and the bacon is crispy, drain off the fat and add 1 cup of diced shallot to the saute pan with the bacon (or veggies) for 3-5 mins, stirring frequently (the idea is to not burn, but to crisp!). - Now turn heat off and add this mixture to the broth. Stir. - The stock is now done, so you can now take a sip of wine and smile. You can either use this stock right away, cool and refrigerate until ready to use...OR let cool and freeze. - Now comes the clams. Ideally you want to use fresh chopped clams. How clammy are you? That depends on how many clams you want to add. Add clams to stock and cook for about 10 mins (roughly) before next step. Be careful to NOT overcook clams they get rubbery. - While this is going on, in a saute pan, put 1 stick of butter (ya I said it) and make a rue by slowly adding 1 - 1/2 cup flour with the butter and stirring slowly until it becomes a thick consistency. However much rue you add will depend on how thick you like it. Personally, we don't like it thick so we used less of the flour/butter combo. - Now get your stock boiling and while you are stirring it like mad, and slowly add rue until desired consistancy. - Add 1 cup light cream. 1/2 cup white wine. Stir away. Now take another sip of your wine (the more wine you drink the less you will care about the soup:)). If chowder is too thick add more cream and wine. - Your chowdah is now done! Ladle into your favorite soup bowls and top with parsley and some cracked fresh pepper. Serve with a warmed baguette because apparently clams LOVE gluten!!:) You can thank me (or rather my multi-talented Dad, Don Burt) later!
Bon appetite! Chowdah's on!