January 12, 2003

Say Chowdah!

Yesterday I made up a batch of clam chowder. I love doing this, but it's only been recently that I started making it. I call this weeknight, but I usually make it on a weekend. It's pretty quick to go together. This time I timed myself -- 30 minutes from arriving home until things were already simmering.

- 3 strips bacon, cut into slices
- 2 small onions, minced
- 2 celery stalks, minced

I render the fat from the bacon, remove the strips from the pan and reserve. Sweat down the onions and celery in the bacon fat, then add:
- 4 T butter
- 1/2 C flour

And stir to make a roux. To this, I add:
- 1/2 C white wine
- Drained liquid from a large (3 lb) can of chopped clams (about 3 C)
- 3 C water
- 1 bay leaf
- thyme
- salt
- pepper

Bring up to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes. Adjust liquid to consistancy you like. Then add:
- 3 Large baking potatoes, peeled and cut into large dice

Cook another 20-30 minutes. Then add:
- The reserved clams from the can (I usually lightly rinse them out to try to get rid of any grit)

Cook another 5-10 minutes. (You can actually let this simmer much longer. Clams are tender when cooked just a bit, or a long time. So, either cook them short or long, but not the middle. I usually let it cook for a while to both blend the flavors and break down the potatoes a bit).
Then add:
- milk or cream, about 1/2 qt

Adjust seasonings. I usually add quite a bit more black pepper, a shot of hot sauce, and some paprika. You shouldn't boil the soup after adding the dairy as it can tend to break at that point.

With the chowder I made garlic bread from softened butter creamed with two whole heads of roasted garlic, hot sauce, paprika, and black pepper. I'll often also add cheese, but decided I didn't want that combination with seafood. Spread on halfs of bread and cook in a hot oven (450) until crispy and brown.

Appropriately enough, while eating this, we were watching Bravo's "Page to Screen" and the subject movie was Jaws.

Posted by dowdy at January 12, 2003 07:47 AM