Wednesday, May 05, 2004

New England Clam Chowder Recipe for the West Coast

Tonight's scheduled rant about people who spontaneously call me during the workday to pointlessly yak and yak and yak (forcing me to work into the evening to make up the lost work time their interruptions cost me) is postponed.

Instead, here's a great clam chowder recipe, which includes info from the The New England Clam Shack Cookbook and Mark Bittner's How to Cook Everything (both available on Amazon) as well as from the Shady Rest West kitchen.

New England Clam Chowder for the West Coast

3 cups of cooked, frozen, West Coast clams (little clams) from a good seafood shop
3 cups water
1/4 to 1/2 lb. bacon, finely diced
2 Tbs butter
3/4 cup finely chopped sweet onion
1 to 3 Tbsp. flour
2 ribs celery
2 8 oz. bottles of Snow's clam juice
4 to 6 cups of diced potatoes (thin-skinned, waxy types hold up best)
1/4 tsp. finely ground thyme
2 tsp. salt
several grinds of pepper
1 cup half and half
1 cup light cream

Thaw frozen clams by heating gently in a soup pot with three cups of water and two tsp. salt. After clams thaw, let them sit in the broth.
In a large pot, sautee the diced bacon on very low heat until the fat is golden. If the bacon is fairly lean, add up to 2 Tbsp. of butter before adding the chopped onion. Then sautee onion gently until soft.
Add the flour to the bacon and onion and mix thoroughly, quickly adding the two bottles of clam juice and bringing it all back to a simmer as the flour thickens the broth. Drain off the clam broth from the clams (it will have reduced to about 2 cups) and add that as well. After the thickness is stabilized (this is not a particularly thick chowder) add the thyme, whole celery ribs, and diced potatoes and cook on low for 15 minutes, until the potatoes are just done.
Remove the celery ribs and add the clams, half and half, and cream. Add more salt, if needed, and several grinds of pepper.

At this point, you can either cook for another five minutes and serve, or you can can cool it slowly and then refrigerate. If you refrigerate, serve in the next 48 hours, adding whole milk or more half and half if the chowder seems too thick.

You can add butter just before serving, if you like. Accompany with saltines or, if you can get them, oyster crackers.

Warning label: This recipe is not kosher, it is not vegetarian, it contains carbohydrates, and it contains saturated fat.

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