November 9, 2012

Clam Chowder

I've been on a soup kick lately....probably due to the chilly weather.
I always enjoy the fact that here in Philly, we have 4 distinctly different seasons that
we can enjoy, BUT! with that said- the Spring and Fall season always fall short.
Summer is super hot and long, winter in super freezing for a solid 4 or so months but
the Fall and Spring always seem to be only barely a month long... as far as temperature.

What's your favorite season?
I'm usually a person who has no favorites (yeah, I'm one of those)
but I think I do enjoy Fall- at least the beginning of it- that time of year when
you first put socks on again from not wearing them since May due to wearing
flip flops and sandals all summer. The air is crisp and slightly brisk but not yet freezing
cold and it's the start of the leaves changing colors... an amazing part of nature that God has given us.

So, this time I made some clam chowder. New England style.
Did you know there are many different styles of clam chowder?
Yeah, you probably know about the Manhattan (red) and New England style...
but there is also the Rhode Island chowder, the New Jersey chowder,
the Delaware chowder, the Hatteras chowder and the Minorcan chowder.

Let me simply break it down...
New England - milk or cream based with potatoes, onion and clams,
             commonly eaten with oyster crackers.

Manhattan - clear broth with tomatoes to give flavor/color...
             started after 1930s and often eaten with clam cakes.

Rhode Island chowder - clear broth called "South County Style" referring to the southern beach/fishing
            area it originated in. RI chowder has potatoes, onions and bacon.

New Jersey clam chowder - bacon, onion, clams, potatoes, celery powder and Old Bay,
           light cream, asparagus and tomatoes cut and garnished on top.

Delaware chowder - consists of salted pork that is pre-fried, potatoes, onions, butter and
         quahogs (hard shelled clams) most similar to the New England clam chowder

Hatteras chowder -  This chowder is served throughout the
         OBX (North Carolina's Outer Banks region.
         clear broth, bacon, potatoes, onions, and flour as a thickening agent...often seasoned heavily
         with black pepper as a seasoning garnish, often having chopped scallions on top as well

Minorcan clam chowder - a spicy version using the clearer tomato broth with "secret ingredient"
         not so much secret anymore... a Spanish hot peer called datil (similar to habanero)

I started yes, with the good ole American bacon. About 4 strips and chopped them up.

I also diced up 1 large potato. I took the end (slightly rounded) pieces and cut them
into even smaller pieces so that it would help thicken my soup as the potato cooked down.
(pieces to the right--- in the picture below) 
I also diced one onion as well. I first fried the bacon pieces...
once they became crispy, I added the onions into the bacon and bacon fat mixture in the pot.

I added the potatoes once the onions were a translucent color... cooked all the way!
Yes, I took the easy way and used clams from a can rather than going to the seafood section
and buying them fresh which would definitely have a stronger and better taste.

Once the potatoes cooked through and became soft, I then added a a cup of heavy cream
and about a 1/4 cup of milk. I let everything come to a boil and then chopped some parsley
for a garnish and enjoyed the hearty soup with a side of crackers!

  • Ingredients: 
  • 1 large can of clams or a bag or fresh clams (fresh recommended)
  • 1 large potato (Idaho works well)
  • 1 onion diced
  • 1 cup cream (I used heavy)
  • 1/4 cup of milk
  • 4-5 strips of bacon cut into small pieces
  • parsley for garnish
  • crackers to enjoy with or a good crusty bread!

Zestfully, Let's Cultivate Food