Photo courtesy of Cucina Testa Rossa, and not of this recipe, though that bowl right there is making me want to hop on BART and go into the city tout de suite.
Several years ago, I took a cooking class with some friends of mine at a local Home Chef location. This was more so we would have something fun to do together than to learn to cook, though we did manage to pick up a few pointers while we were there. The class we took was on Seafood, and we got some tasty recipes out of it. I was reminded of this class by a post that C wrote, where she gave a really yummy looking recipe for Broccoli and Cauliflower soup, and in the comments, she asked one of her friends if they had ever made Clam Chowder before. Well, I have, once or twice, and it beats the canned stuff all hollow, but of course, it’s a heck of a lot more work. So, for C, and anyone else who’s interested, here’s the Home Chef recipe for Clam Chowder.
Old Fashioned Clam Chowder
2 c. fish stock
3 dz. small clams, scrubbed
6 slices smoked bacon
2 stalks celery, diced
5 oz. pearl onions, blanched and peeled
1 1/2 oz unsalted butter
3 tbsp unbleached flour
2 1/2 c milk*
1 lb baking potatoes, peeled and diced
2 ears corn, off the cob (1 1/2 cups)
2 bay leaves
1/2 tsp fresh thyme, finely chopped
1 tbsp sherry
fine sea salt and white pepper to taste
1. In a large pot, bring stock to a boil, add clams, cover and steam until open, about 5 minutes. Strain clams, reserving liquid, remove meat and coarsely chop. Set aside.
2. In the same pot, sautÃ© bacon until crisp. Remove bacon and pour off all but 2 tbsp fat. Add celery and onions and sautÃ© until translucent, about 2 minutes. Whisk in flour and continue cooking for 3 minutes. Constantly whisking, add reserved clam liquid and milk.
3. Add potatoes, corn, bay leaves; cover and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook until potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes.
4. Add butter, clams, and thyme, and cook an additional 5 minutes. Add half the bacon**, sherry, and season to taste with salt and pepper.
*The recipe goes on to give a slightly healthier option, by substituting non-fat milk and omitting the butter. What the crap? Only if I had a heart condition would I do that. I’d rather enjoy my food, and just eat less of it maybe. Maybe.
** Half the bacon? What’s that about? I don’t remember. I think the last time I made this recipe was 2000 or 2001, so really, I’ve forgotten. I think you pass the other half at the table, so people who want more bacon can sprinkle it on their soup. Or perhaps the cook snacks on it while making the chowder. Or perhaps the dog sneaks it off of the counter while no one is looking. Your guess is as good as mine.
This is really yummy clam chowder, though. I’m going to have to make some soon, while the weather is cold and wintery. Mmmm.