Clam Chowder, Lest I Forget, Round 2 - Ellen's Tastes Blog at - 319025

Ellen's Tastes

Clam Chowder, Lest I Forget, Round 2 
Jan. 4, 2014 12:48 pm 
Updated: Jan. 14, 2014 12:44 pm
It's a good thing I like to make a second batch of something I've recently discovered or developed, especially if I've shared it with others. I got a hankering for more of that fabulous Clam Chowder I posted about a week ago, and I was about a third of the way through the recipe when I realized there wasn't enough liquid. After a quick double check of the original recipe (which, of course, I'd altered), I realized I forgot to include 2 cups of broth, and about half a cup of Half and Half when I wrote the recipe for all the world to see. So the following recipe has been edited to — I hope — correct my goofs. This time around I also added a pinch of cayenne pepper. That came from a Google search I did on "seasonings for Clam Chowder". You wouldn't believe how many spices and herbs some people use! I opted to stay with the subtle approach, but decided a little zing wouldn't hurt and thus the cayenne. My original post follows, with the edits only in the recipe. Happy slurping ;)

Out of the blue, I got it in my head to make clam chowder from scratch. I've had some great canned clam chowder, and some really fabulous restaurant clam chowders — some thicker than others, some more clammy than others — but I wanted to try developing a "signature clam chowder" ... which is to say, I wanted it to be everything I most love about clam chowder.

We've all ordered the kind that's so thick your spoon will stand on end when inserted into the chowder. That's my least favorite kind. Right on the heels of that type is the one with the sand not fully washed from the clam, so each bite is gritty. I'm not fond of that either. There's the kind that's more brothy but is greasy from what I think (hope) is butter. And there's the kind in which ingredients appear that really don't belong there: like bits of artichoke, for instance.

My ideal when setting out was to create a clam chowder with a nice flavorful (clammy) broth, with a few supporting veggies and milk or cream, but nothing that would overpower the subtle clam flavor I wanted to achieve.

Here's what I did: I Googled "Clam Chowder Recipe" and found one that looked promising. Then I read the reviews and it still looked promising, but I got a few ideas. So here's the recipe that came of it:

2 tbsp. butter
2 shallots, chopped thin
1/2 yellow onion, chopped thin
1/4 red onion, chopped thin
2 celery stalks, cut into 1/4" bits
3 tbsp. all-purpose flour
1 jar clam juice (8 oz)
2 c. chicken or vegetable broth (I used Swanson's Organic Chicken Broth)
1 c. milk 
1/2 c. half and half
2 bay leaves
2 cans Bar Harbor clams, 10 oz. each (with the juice)
1/4 c. sherry
1-1/2 c. red potatoes, diced
1-1/2 tsp. dried thyme
pinch of cayenne pepper
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper

In a soup pot, melt the butter, then sautee the shallots, onions, and celery for about 10 minutes. Toss in the flour, then quickly add the clam juice and stir to avoid clumps. Add the milk, bay leaves, clams (with their juice), potatoes, and thyme. Let simmer on low for about 30 minutes until the potatoes are cooked. Add salt and pepper.

This turned out to be almost perfect. I used the shallots and different varieties of onions because that's all I had on hand. Next time, I'll likely drop the red onion, but keep the yellow onion and the shallots. 

I also used gluten-free flour because (yet again) that's what I had. It did okay, but leaves a grainy texture that I'd like to avoid. I'll have to work on it.

The red potatoes were an ideal addition, as was the sherry. I wouldn't change either, or anything else for that matter, other than as mentioned just above.

Now that the soup's been devoured, I want more. So I've posted the recipe here, where I'll know for a fact I can find it ;)

If you've got any tips for an even tastier version, toss 'em my way.

Jan. 4, 2014 7:50 pm
Nice to "see" you! Happy New Year. The weather must be affecting our taste buds. I made clam chowder too, from scratch, but I went with Manhattan style. My only complaint was no leftovers. Stay well.,
Jan. 5, 2014 5:22 am
I am happy to see you here, blogging again. Funny, when reading through your recipe (before reading your comments) I thought, 'I don't think I would use red onion.' Are you gluten free? Is that why you used gluten free flour? If so, my first thought was to use rice flour instead.... I am just thinking out loud here but I have had good luck with rice flour in other recipes. If you are not gluten free, using a fine flour and cooking it a bit so that the flour actually smells a little like pastry helps smooth out any graininess. (is that a word?) I love clam chowder but rarely make it as NB Papa won't eat it. Thanks for your post, I am going to save your recipe. I know a lot of clam chowder lovers who I can invite for dinner.
Jan. 5, 2014 6:46 am
About how many servings did this make?
Jan. 5, 2014 10:27 am
Good to see you again. You've been missed.
Jan. 6, 2014 12:08 pm
Sounds like a great recipe. I've always cooked the potatoes in clam juice then add to roux. Add cream and simmer adding the clams at the very end so they don't get rubbery. (Momma's good ole recipe)
Jan. 11, 2014 9:05 am
Thanks for all your comments. Nana, I can't tell you for sure how many servings this made because hubby ate a whole bunch of it when I wasn't looking. I'm guessing 8 servings at about 1-1/2 c. each.
Jan. 14, 2014 12:44 pm
Nana, I forgot to answer your other questions: I'm gluten sensitive and have about half a package left of Bob's Gluten Free All Purpose Flour, so I'll stick with that 'til it's gone, then try a rice flour. Is there one you like best? RobandLinda, GREAT suggestion about adding the clams toward the end! Thanks, and I hope I remember to actually do that next time ;)
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About Me
I've loved cooking since I was a kid, and still have my first (very battered) cookbook. Other than cooking, I adore interior design, writing, and playing bridge. Oh... and tasting new wines (or old favorites).
My favorite things to cook
As I've grown older, my tastes and philosophy have changed. I now use organic ingredients whenever I can, and I prefer using unprocessed ingredients.
My favorite family cooking traditions
Well, my mother (bless her) had 8 people to feed, so she made foods that were easy to prepare. My favorites were her baked ribs with barbecue sauce; english muffins topped with cheese, tomato, and bacon, and then broiled; and spaghetti noodles with tomato soup and cheddar cheese stirred in. I wouldn't make these dishes today, but they're full of fond memories.
My cooking triumphs
Adding orange juice to diced tomato sauce • Adding Cointreau to fresh fruit salads or a chocolate sauce • Adding tequila and bittersweet chocolate to chili • "poaching" salmon in orange juice, sprinkled with Old Bay and tarragon • adding cidar vinegar and soy sauce to vegetable soups • adding fresh mint to steamed red potatoes • knowing how to bail out a botched dish (example: over-steamed broccoli mashed with bleu or swiss cheese isn't nearly as bad as over-steamed broccoli on it's own).
My cooking tragedies
Over-steaming broccoli and most any other veggie... and a lasagna that was so loaded with oregano, no one could eat it.
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