Thursday, January 31, 2013

new england clam chowder

this is it!  the last thursday soup post!  i'll continue to post recipes as i try new things, but this is my last recipe in queue.  thank you for reading, and for your comments as you tried them!

mike and i have had a bumpy road of communication within the cooking realm.  when we were first married, he never wanted to give me any negative feedback on my cooking.  later, we had to work on our communication - i always asked him to rate the dishes we ate on a scale of 1-10, but that wasn't the easiest way for him to tell me his thoughts on them.  we're continuing to learn how to talk to each other about cooking........i've learned better questions to ask, and mike is proactive now in giving feedback that i can assimilate.

which leads me to this chowder!  during one of my "i'm tired of cooking the same-old, same-old!" bursts, i asked mike to flip through my cookbook with me, and give me unfiltered thoughts on the soup recipes.  it helped me to learn my husband better!  i would not have guessed the recipes that he would be most excited about.  the leader of these is this recipe.  i made it first, because he was so anxious to try it.  it's lovely cooking for a man who is excited to eat what you're making!!  :-)

overall, we really enjoy this soup.  mike really likes it!!  i enjoy that it is not very fatty, and thick enough to be a filling lunch.  i would be more enthusiastic in my praise, but i want to be real!  i think that the zuppa toscana and chili are still our faves, and the chicken noodle is so healthy that i can hardly beat it.  but this is a fun one to toss into the mix, and is very tasty.  and what an easy way to do seafood!  ;-)

note 1: i use russet potatoes for this chowder; because i blend the majority of it, it has some similarity to mashed potatoes.  don't take that analogy too far, but russet potatoes lend themselves better to the texture i want.

note 2: i received an immersion blender for christmas, and it works like a DREAM with this chowder.  i made a fresh batch monday night, and with mike's help chopping the potatoes, it took less than 30 minutes, start to finish.  however!  if you don't have an immersion blender, you can easily get by without - just use a fork to mash the potatoes against the side of the pot.

note 3: i added 50% more clams than the original recipe called for.  also, my recipe below is double the original - feel free to halve!!

new england clam chowder

6 russet potatoes, cut into 1/2" - 1" cubes (if you have an immersion blender, you do not need to peel)
6 cans oysters (6.25 oz each)
1 large onion, diced, or 2 T onion powder
2 cups half-and-half
4 cups milk
1 T worcestershire sauce
2 t black pepper
1 T crushed thyme
2 T flour

1.  drain oysters, preserving the claim juice.  in total, you should have more than 3 cups liquid.  set clams aside.
2.  add potatoes, onion (or onion powder), claim juice, worcestershire sauce, pepper, and thyme to a large pot.  bring to a boil.  decrease heat to medium-low, and cook, covered, ~15 minutes, or until potatoes are tender.
3.  while the potatoes are cooking, combine milk, half-and-half, and flour in a large, microwave-safe bowl.  heat on low power (i used defrost) until the milk mixture is warm.  this step is not necessary, but will speed up step #5.
4.  once the potatoes are soft, blend the mixture in the pot with an immersion blender to desired consistency (if you would like no lumps in your chowder, blend entirely.  if you would like potato chunks, then blend 1/2 or 2/3 of total mixture).
5.  add milk mixture to the pot; bring to a low boil.
6.  add clams, and decrease heat to medium-low.  continue stirring for 1-2 minutes, until clams are heated through.

enjoy!  this recipe allows for half to be frozen; it freezes very well.

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