Wednesday, March 11, 2009
New England Clam Chowder
One item we usually order during the cold winter months in a family-friendly restaurant is clam chowder. New Englang style clam chowder uses salt pork for the fat source traditionally (or so I have read), and is rich with the use of heavy cream. Hubby loves his with lots of saltine crackers. With the exception of my stepdaughter, who is bent to believe she is allergic to all seafood, our family l loves clam chowder.
I tried to recreate it at home as this is one of the comfort foods in this area. I based this recipe on Cooking For Engineer's site, and gained approval from my picky husband.
3 tbsp oil (rendered fat from salt pork)
3 cans (6.5 oz minced clams in clam juice)
1 (8-oz) clam juice
1 big (1-lb or so) russet potato, diced
1 medium onion, chopped
1 tbsp flour
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup milk
salt and pepper to taste
dash of ground basil (optional)
Drain clam juice off from cans. Set aside the juice.
Render oil from salt pork.
Sautee onion. Follow with diced potatoes and stir until potatoes are well coated with oil (this coating will help potatoes retain their shape and not easily crumble).
Sprinkle the flour and stir. Add the clam juice from draining, and the bottled one. Let boil. Season with salt and pepper (be careful as salt pork and saltine crackers are salty already).
Lower heat and simmer covered for about 20 minutes or until done, stirring occasionally to make sure potatoes don't stick to pan.
Add milk, heavy cream and clams, and heat without boiling (which will cause milk to coagulate and form clumps).
Enjoy with crumbled saltine crackers on top (or crumbled chicharon, like what my sons do).
(I served this tonight with potato peasant bread and fruit salad = combination of canned cocktail fruit, peaches, mandarin oranges, lychees, and palm seeds, topped with whipped cream.)