Monday, October 27, 2008

Barefoot in the kitchen, part VI: Clam chowder

Wandered into the Proctor Farmers Market this last Saturday (still going until November 22) and tripped across my favorite weekend sustainable seafood purveyer: QuilBay Seafoods. Fresh oysters! And this week: clams! Never dealt with clams. But the woman standing next to me mentioned making clam chowder, which sounded good. Sold!

But mind you: I've never made shellfish before. It didn't quite occur to me that the clams might be ... um ... alive. Not until I had them in the strainer and was rinsing them off. And they were moving. And opening. And closing. Ewww! (And I totally realize how ridiculous this is. Once upon a time pioneers raised their own meat, killed their own meat, cooked it and ate it -- sans problemo. But let's just say I came really close to becoming a vegetarian this weekend.)

I survived, however. And despite my paranoia that I must have cooked it wrong and poisoned it, my husband and son both had multiple bowl fulls and LOVED it. Yay! (My girls? Nope. Wouldn't touch it. Thanks, kids. Thanks a lot.)

Anyhow, the recipe ... inspired by the one the seafood folks gave me, but I embellished. You heard me ... my FIRST TIME making chowder and I EMBELLISHED. This whole temporary husband-not-being-around-to-cook-dinner thing might be turning into a good thing. For him. (I'm learning I can make something beyond casseroles, spaghetti and sandwiches ... and baked goods ...)

TC's Homemade Clam Chowder

18 large littleneck clams, scrubbed (or, for me, a bag o' teeny tiny Manila clams that were already clean)
3 slices of bacon, chopped (ok, I used 5)
1 medium onion, chopped (shhh ... I put in 2)
(I also put in a leek that was in the fridge)
1 tbsp. all purpose flour (heaping)
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper (or whatever I happened to grind out of the grinder)
1 pound all-purpose potatoes, pelled and chopped (about 5 or 6)
(I also added a bunch of rainbow carrots -- 6 to 8, washed and chopped)
2 cups half-and-half (I added a bit more)
1 cup of milk
3/4 tsp. salt, or to taste
(I also added a bunch of Chardonnay ... that totally made it better)

In a 5- to 6-quart saucepot, heat water to boiling over high heat. Add clams, heat to boiling. Reduce heat slightly; cover and simmer until clams open, 5 to 10 minutes. Transfer clams to a bowl as they open. Discad andy clams that have not opened. ... When cool enough to handle, remove clams from their shells and coarsely chop. Discard shells. strain clam broth through sieve lined with paper towels into measuring cup; if necessary add eough water to equal 2 cups. ... In same clean saucepot, cook bacon over medium heat until lightly browned. With slotted spoon, remove bacon to paper towels. Add onion (and leek) to drippings in pot; cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in flour and pepper until blended; cook 1 minute. Gradually stir in clam brother until smooth. Add potatoes (and carrots); heat to boiling. Reduce heat; cover and simmer until potatoes (and carrots) are tender, about 15 minutes. ... Stir in half-and-half, milk, and chopped clams; heat through (do not boil). Stir in bacon. Tste for seasoning; add salt as needed. Add chardonnay as needed. Makes about 6 cups. (A bit more with my additions.)

1 comment:

Pulse Tacoma said...

Gotta try this, love me some chowder