Clam Chowder

Since its a rather brisk 27º at the moment, the choice of a New England clam chowder is rather appropriate. Nothing like a hot chowder/soup/stew to warm the body on a cold night.

Before I dive into this let me state that if you don’t have some crusty bread on hand just back away from the stove and consider ordering out.  Clam chowder without crusty bread is like Mexican without cilantro. The sh@# shouldn’t happen.

Here’s the initial recipe as supplied by Gina (c/o Glamour Gourmet on the Run):

2 Tbls. butter
1 medium onion, diced
1 10 oz. can whole baby clams, w/juice
1/2 cup water
1 large potato, diced
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
1 cup half-and- half
1 cup milk
chopped parsley

In medium saucepan over medium heat, melt butter and saute onion until tender but not brown. Add clams with their liquid, water, potato, salt and pepper. Simmer chowder 15 minutes. Stir in half-and-half and milk; heat through. Sprinkle soup with parsley. Makes 6 servings.

Although her version would be far superior, here are my twists:

2 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil (in place of the butter)
2 6.5 oz cans of chopped clams (in place of whole clams)
1/2 lb of small potatoes instead of one large potato
1/4 teaspoon of crushed red pepper
1 cup of skim milk (in place of whole milk)
1 cup of fat-free half-n-half (in place of regular half-n-half)

As you might guess some of these substitutions are for health reasons. I have yet to make it with butter, whole milk and regular half-n-half so I don’t know how dramatic the change in taste would be. I do know which version would be preferred by my doctor. The red pepper is in addition to the black pepper (not a substitution).  I think it gives it a tad more bite.

As for the potatoes, I usually buy the little golden (yellow?) potatoes Harris Teeter sells in a one pound, net bag. I prefer the taste of those over a Russett. For this post, my Dad had gone to Costco and come back with a huge a@# bag of potatoes. I took half the bag and have been using them for a month (I still have some left). There is a slight taste difference, but I red skins do bring some color to the final presentation.

The only other change I make is to toss the parsley in the pot as its finishing up.  At that point I don’t think it matters if it goes in the pot or the bowl, but it does for the leftover when I don’t have to chop up more parsley.

By my count, I get 4 servings.

p.s. I’ll accept crackers in place of crusty bread, but I’ll give you hell for it.

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~ by Genevieve on 2010.01.02.

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