What could be better to celebrate New England Clam Chowder Day than a creamy, hot and delicious bowl of New England clam chowder?
As one of this author’s favorite soups, she can’t think of anything better to enjoy on this date in food history. Hope this is one of your favorite soups and if not, it soon will be!
The soup known as chowder developed it name from the place that warmed things. That particular place is what we use today as a cooking pot. This cooking pot can also be referred to as a cauldron. If we translate cauldron into Latin we have the word calderia where the French use the term chaudiere to describe the same cooking pot.
Chowder in general is a simple dish. Some may contain fish, potatoes or vegetables. Today we think of chowder as a comfort food but years ago it was considered a poor man’s food or meal. This simple dish is believed to have derived from France and England by European settlers coming to America.
New England clam chowder is a cream based soup whereas Manhattan clam chowder has a tomato base. This chowder or soup has been a tradition to serve on Friday’s during Lent. During this time Catholics refrain from eating meat and clam chowder became one of the favorite dishes to prepare Friday evenings.
- 3 cans of chopped clams
- 2 large potatoes, diced
- 3 cups of chicken broth
- 1 (8 ounce) bottle of clam juice
- 2 cups of heavy cream, divided
- 1 medium sized onion, chopped
- 2 ounces of salt pork, diced very fine
- 3 ½ tablespoons of cornstarch
- ¼ teaspoon of salt
- ¼ teaspoon of pepper
- In a medium to large cauldron, stock pot or soup pot sauté the diced salt pork and onions together.
- A medium-low flame is recommended.
- Cook until they are both tender and the onions are translucent. This should take about 5 minutes to reach the desired tenderness.
- Then add the chicken broth, clam juice, chopped clams, diced potatoes, salt and pepper all into the pot.
- Cover the pot and bring the entire mixture to a full boil.
- Once the contents of the pot comes to a boil, reduce the heat or flame to medium.
- Now that the heat has been lowered, remove the cover from the pot.
- Pour ½ a cup of heavy cream into a measuring cup. Add the cornstarch and mix thoroughly. Add this mixture to the pot and stir it in.
- Continue cooking with a medium heat until the potatoes are tender. Depending upon the firmness of the potatoes this may take anywhere from 15-20 minutes at most.
- Once the potatoes are fully cooked add the remainder of the heavy cream to the chowder.
- Cook on a medium-low heat until the chowder thickens up. This may take about 5 minutes to get to the right consistency. Make sure to stir often while the chowder is getting thick.
- Transfer chowder to a soup tureen or large serving bowl.
- Ladle into individual serving dishes.
- Serve with crackers.
- Saltines or oyster crackers are good choices with New England clam chowder.
- Serve with your favorite sandwich on the side or just have a large bowl of chowder for lunch or dinner.
- Fresh parsley can also be added as a garnish on top of each soup bowl. Or, stir in a few tablespoons of fresh parsley into the soup for a little added flavor.
- Instead of using a traditional soup bowl ladle the chowder into a bread bowl. The homemade New England clam chowder will soak into the bread and can be enjoyed once the chowder is gone.
Food for thought:
- Herman Melville author of the classic book, Moby Dick mentions clam chowder in his story. This is a dish that is creamy, hearty and one that was praised in this famous and well read book. (Read pages 63-66 or click here to see the excerpt from the book pulled by the educational department at Princeton)
- In 1939 a bill was enacted by the Maine legislature made the addition of tomatoes illegal to add to clam chowder.
Of course all the ingredients can be purchased locally in Winona. The Supervalu and Wal-mart have everything that is needed to make this chowder all year round. That makes it easy to enjoy homemade New England clam chowder any day of the year. Or click here for a listing of the fish and seafood markets in Winona and throughout the state of Mississippi.
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Copyright 2011 Beverly Mucha / All Rights Reserved