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Sunday, October 3

Anyone Feeling Clammy?

Have you ever woke up with a craving?  Just an all-consuming desire for a particular food?  I'm sure you have, most people do.  Well, today, I woke up with a hankerin' for some old fashioned New England Clam Chowder.  Lucky for me, I know how to make it!!

Probably the most popular of the clam chowders, New England style is only one of 6 different ways to make it.  Whoa...what?  SIX ways?  Most only know of 2...New England, which is cream based, and Manhattan, which is tomato based.  You also have Rhode Island and Outer Banks style, which are clear-broth based, and Minorcan, which is surprisingly out of Florida, and is another tomato base chowder.  Finally, you have Long Island style, which is a blend of New England AND Manhattan, making for a creamy tomato base.
 

Interesting tidbit of trivia...clam chowder is often served in restaurants on Fridays in order to provide a seafood option for those who abstain from meat every Friday, which used to be a requirement for Catholics before liturgical changes in Vatican II, and on Fridays during Lent. Though the period of strict abstinence from meat on Fridays was reduced to Lent, the year-round tradition of serving clam chowder on Fridays remains.

On to the recipe.  Remember, some people are purists when it comes to their chowder...clams, clam broth, potatoes, cream...that's about it.  My recipe uses a bit more than that, but the taste is outstanding.  I hope you like it.

NEW ENGLAND CLAM CHOWDER

1 pint shucked clams OR 2 6.5oz cans minced clams
2 slices bacon
3 medium potatoes, washed, peeled, and cut into 1/2 cubes
1 large onion, chopped
1 teaspoon instant chicken bouillion granules
1 teaspoon Worchestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon crushed dried Thyme
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 cups milk
1 cup half-n-half or light cream
2 tablespoons all purpose flour

Chop fresh clams (if using), reserving juice; set clams aside.  Strain clam juice to remove bits of shell.  If using canned clams, strain clams, reserving juice; set aside.  If necessary, add enough water to the reserved juices to equal 1 cup.

In a large saucepan, cook bacon until crisp.  Remove bacon, reserving 1 tbsp of drippings in pan.  Allow bacon to drain on paper towels, then crumble and set aside.

Stir the reserved 1 cup of clam liquid, potatoes, onion, bouillion granules, Worchestershire sauce, thyme and pepper into saucepot.  Bring to boiling, then reduce heat (no, it's not alot of liquid, but it will be sufficient).  Simmer, covered, about 15 minutes, or until potatoes are tender.  Using the back of a fork, mash about 1/2 the potatoes against the side of the pot.

Stir together milk, half-n-half (or light cream) and flour, eliminating lumps; add to potato mixture.  Cook at medium heat, stirring constantly but gently, until slightly thickened and bubbly.  Stir in clams.  Bring to a light boil, then turn to low and simmer 1-2 minutes longer, or until clams are heated through.  Remove from heat, and let stand for about 8-10 minutes to finish thickening.  Serve with crumbled bacon sprinkled on top.  Makes 4 fairly large meal-sized servings, or 8 soup appetizers.

Well, that's my recipe.  Hope you like it as much as I do.  I gotta go...time for me to get cooking on my own batch!!  ENJOY!!!

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