Monday, November 24, 2008


It was rainy and cold here today. Fitting for a Monday, especially for a Monday after a wonderful, beautiful weekend spent in sunny, breezy New Orleans with a lovely group of girls. (One of whose mother sometime reads this blog, which excited me to no end to find out.)

So...what to eat when the weather is nasty? Soup,
bien sur. We had brothy soup last week, so creamy chowder was in order. I've made chowders before. But I wanted something different. I'd never made clam chowder, but it's one of Jason's favorites. So I found a recipe on Epicurious and made some tweaks to suit our tastes (and the contents of my fridge).

I'm sorry I didn't make this sooner—it's definitely one of those classic recipes I can check of my "to make" list. (And then put it right back on my "to make again" list.) I'm sure we've all ordered clam chowder at a restaurant and received a bowl of pasty milk with a few sad little rubbery clams and some mushy potatoes. (Meg—I'll never forget your chowder from Cedar River.) Well, this one was nothing like that. It was creamy, flavorful, and comforting—and perfect for a cold, rainy weeknight. Serve with a green salad, and you're golden.

Classic New England Clam Chowder
{adapted from gourmet magazine}
You could certainly use regular bacon in place of pancetta...and heavy cream or regular half-and-half in place of the milk and fat-free half-and-half. But I must say, the lightened-up version was very creamy and still delicious.
serves 6 as a first-course, 4 as a light supper

4 (tunafish-size) cans chopped clams, juices reserved
2 cups bottled clam juice
1 (1/4-inch) slice pancetta, minced
1 tablespoon butter
1 bunch green onions, chopped finely
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 medium russet potatoes, peeled, diced small
2 cups whole milk
1 cup fat-free half-and-half
Salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Tabasco, to taste
Worcestershire sauce, to taste
Oyster or saltine crackers

Drain the clam juice from the clams, and combine with enough bottled juice to equal 3 cups of liquid. Cook the pancetta and butter slowly in a stockpot over medium heat until lightly browned and crisp, about 4 minutes.

Add the green onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 3 minutes. Add the flour and cook over low heat, stirring with a wooden spoon, for 2-3 minutes.

Whisk in the clam juice, bring to a simmer, and cook for 6-7 minutes, stirring occasionally; it should be the consistency of heavy cream. Add the potatoes and simmer until tender, about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, place the clams, milk, and half-and-half in a small saucepan, and simmer for 5 minutes.

When the potatoes are tender, add the clams and milk/half-and-half to the soup base. Simmer for 1-2 minutes. Season to taste with salt, pepper, Tabasco, and Worcestershire sauce. Serve in bowls with the crackers on the side. (The roux)


Kristin said...

Ooooh, yum, that sounds delish!!

Colleen said...

YUM! You know I love creamy soups - this looks great!