Wednesday, November 15, 2017

D is for: Dad's Clam Chowder

Does anyone else feel like fall has had a bit of an identity crisis?

The beginning of it was super hot, almost unbearable summer temperatures. Then we got some bone-chilling 32 degree days last week, and now it's back in the 40's and 50's.

Regardless, autumn is finally here and that definitely means sweater weather. And scarf weather. But for the purposes of this blog, it is most certainly soup weather. A warm, thick, creamy bowl to warm you up on the coldest of days.

My dad's clam chowder definitely checks off all those boxes. He made it for Justin and me when we were home visiting Montana this past September, and I couldn't wait to share it with you here on the blog.

While it's perfect for fall, you can really justify making it anytime of year.

It's just that good.


Of course, as I do with most recipes, I put my own tweaks on it. My dad uses milk in his, but I subbed it out for half and half to make it just a tad creamier. I also added some garlic to mine, and used clam stock instead of water to pump up the clam flavors even more.  His recipe also makes quite a large batch, so I more or less cut his in half to make it more of a 6-8 serving recipe.


You'll need between 18-20 ounces of clams to make this recipe. (Though you could technically use less and just not have as much clam meat in your chowdahhhhh.) I actually did three 6.5 ounce cans, so that gave me about 19.5 ounces. However, I realize some companies make 9 or 10 ounce cans, so that's why I'm giving a range here so you're not driving yourself crazy whilst staring at cans of clams in the grocery store attempting to do math.

I gravitated towards this Bar Harbor brand because they were somewhat local (from Maine) and I got sucked in by the pretty label. I also noticed they offered clam stock (in addition to bottles of clam juice.) I liked the idea of it, but I will say it was a little grey in color, which sort of gave the soup a weird hue. Tasted amazing... but for presentation purposes, I might next time buy some clam juice and dilute with a little water. Or, you can also just use chicken broth if you don't want to spend the extra clams on the clam juice. (#dadjokes)


Certain canned clams will come already chopped, some come whole. If they are whole, simply chop them up. (And whatever you do, reserve the juice from the cans! You will need it for the soup base.)


You will also need some potatoes. My dad uses Russet potatoes, so that's what I used, but you can really use whatever you prefer (such as red potatoes or yukon gold.) I left the skins on for a little color and texture, but you can peel if you don't like the skins.

Tip from my dad, Dennis: As soon as you are done chopping the potatoes, drop them into a bowl of water to keep them from browning. OR, in my case... I dropped them into a bowl with the clam juice and broth.


Another tip from Dennis: Chop everything up ahead of time so that the recipe goes faster. I told him that the French call this mise en place.


Almost as important as the clams are in this recipe: the bacon. In a Dutch Oven, fry the chopped bacon until just crispy. Drain on paper towels, leaving the bacon grease in the pot.


To the bacon grease, add the onion and celery and sauté until soft, about 5 minutes. Then add the garlic, and some celery seed (if using) and sauté a minute longer. Next, you will add some flour to make a roux, which will help thicken the soup. Add 3 tablespoons of all purpose flour (you can sub with rice flour or potato flour to make it gluten free.) Stir and cook for another 2-3 minutes so you cook out the "raw" taste of the flour.


Next you will add the potatoes and broth, as well as the half and half or milk. Simmer on the stove until potatoes are fork tender (about 20-30 minutes). Right before serving, add the chopped clams and bacon (reserving a little bacon for garnish, if desired.)


Cook another couple minutes, until clams are warmed through.


Ladle into bowls and top with some of the reserved bacon, scallions and celery leaves. (You could also top with chopped parsley instead, but I didn't have any on hand.)

Thanks to my Dad for sharing his recipe and to Justin for the awesome photos (some of which he stood on the counter to get, haha.) I usually do the editing on my own, but I just loved the rustic fall look he added to these!


So what are you waiting for? Whip up some of this clam chowder, cozy up with a blanket and enjoy this delicious soup while the temperatures continue to drop outside.

Dad's Clam Chowder

by Jaymee Sire
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Keywords: saute soup soup/stew bacon clam American

Ingredients (6-8 bowls of soup)
  • 3 (6.5 ounce) cans of clams in juice (or between 18-20 ounces)
  • 1 (15 ounce) can of clam or chicken stock OR 1 (8 ounce) bottle clam juice + 8 ounces water, mixed
  • 2 medium russet potatoes
  • 6-8 ounces center cut bacon (about 7-8 slices of bacon), cut into lardons
  • 1 tablespoon butter (may not need)
  • 1 medium yellow onion, finely diced (about 2 cups)
  • 2-3 celery stalks, sliced lengthwise, and diced to about 1/4" pieces (about 1 cup), reserve leaves for garnish
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon celery seed (optional)
  • 1 pint half and half (can substitute with milk)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • sea salt & freshly cracked pepper, to taste
  • chopped scallions or parsley (for garnish)
Instructions
Drain clams, reserving juice into a measuring cup. Roughly chop clams. Set aside.
To the clam juice, add enough water to equal 1 cup of liquid. Pour into a large bowl, along with the stock (or to additional clam juice/water, whichever you are using.) Set aside.
Scrub potatoes (or peel, if you prefer) and cut into 1/2" cubes. Place into the bowl with the stock & clam juice mixture to keep them from oxidizing.
In a large pot or dutch oven, fry bacon lardons until just crispy. Remove to a paper towel lined plate, leaving bacon grease in pot. You should have about 3-4 tablespoons of bacon grease. If you do not, add 1 tablespoon of butter.
Add onions & celery to the pot and sauté over medium heat until they start to soften, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and celery seed and cook another minute.
Add 3 tablespoons of flour. Stir and cook for another 2-3 minutes.
Add the potatoes and broth, as well as the half and half. Simmer on the stove until potatoes are fork tender (about 20-30 minutes).
Right before serving, add the chopped clams and bacon (reserving a little bacon for garnish, if desired.) Cook another couple minutes, until clams are warmed through.
Ladle into bowls and top with some of the reserved bacon, scallions and celery leaves.
Powered by Recipage

1 comment:

I would LOVE to hear what you think. I read every comment and get a little giddy when I see someone has left one on the blog. Thanks for stopping by!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...