Tuesday, December 28, 2010

New England Clam Chowder

Clam chowder on Christmas Eve has been a tradition at our home for many years. This year was no exception. Although it had been a strange week because of my dad's funeral, it was nice to have some things the same, like this great clam chowder. This recipe is one I made from guessing at the ingredients in a clam chowder I enjoyed years ago in Massachusetts.

It seems that this recipe used to require many more steps, but now I've got it fine tuned and pretty easy to make. It's not just for Christmas Eve, so it would make a great New Year's Eve meal also. The Christmas dishes had belonged to my mom.

Don't blame me for the knife and spoon placement.

Judy's Clam Chowder:

10 slices of hickory-smoked bacon, fried crisp, broken into tiny pieces

Hormel® Natural Choice® ham can be substituted for the bacon. It has no preservatives and is 100 percent natural with no artificial colors or flavors, and no added nitrites or nitrates and is gluten free.

4 small potatoes, skin on, diced
3 small carrots, diced

4 ribs of celery, minced
1 med. onion, minced
1 Carmen red pepper or red bell pepper (sweet), diced
1 jalapeno pepper, minced

3-4 cans of clams. Do not drain. If minced, use as is. If chopt, run through food processor first. This is simply a preference. I don't like big, rubbery hunks of clam. Also, I prefer Gorton's brand.

2 quarts of whole milk
3/4 c. flour

1 bay leaf, broken in pieces
1-2 t. thyme (I used 2 t.)
black pepper
sea salt to taste

Open 3-4 cans of clams, pour all (incl. juice) into saucepan. Add potatoes and carrots and cook til they are just tender, not mushy.

In a skillet, saute celery, onion, peppers in a couple T. butter until tender.

In a separate bowl, whisk flour into a couple cups of the milk. Add remaining milk little by little, whisking as you add so there are no lumps.

Pour all (including the liquid from the potato/carrots/clams) into my large Martha Stewart stainless steel pot which doesn't let anything stick on the bottom. Heat on Low, stirring. Add seasonings.

Bring to near boil, but DON'T BOIL. At this point, you can then cool the chowder and keep refrigerated overnight OR (if you're going to eat in a couple hours,) let sit covered, then bring back to temperature and serve.

A great accompaniment to my clam chowder: popovers

Chowder recipe serves 8.

This post is linked to Tempt My Tummy Tuesday
and Tasty Tuesday Parade of Foods
and Tuesdays at the Table
and Home and Family Friday


jennyfreckles said...

That sounds delicious. And yes, I think it's very good to have traditions and rituals that help us through difficult and disruptive times. Mind you, Christmas itself feels a bit disruptive to me - in the end, however pleasant it's been, I'm glad to go back to a normal routine!

Anonymous said...

Oooh yummm! My husband and I love clam chowder, but I haven't tried making it myself. This has to change, especially now that I have this great recipe. I would never have thought to add jalapeno peppers!

Once we went on a road trip thru the Eastern US states and had clam chowder every day for lunch at Howard Johnson's (in our pre-children days!). We still laugh about that.

Photos are beautiful, by the way.

Under Her Wings said...

Actually, I have been crying in my beer (which I don't drink) all morning, but I guess you're forgiven since you aren't so Yankee after all! I love a good jib now and then, so I can take it, and I have a feeling you can, too!

We are having dinner guests next Monday night, and I was thinking of making seafood gumbo, but maybe I'll try your clam chowder. I haven't had good chowder in a long time. Thanks for the recipe.

Under Her Wings said...

By the way, I have those Christmas dishes!

Candace said...

You are going to be my husband's hero for giving me the recipe to a good clam chowdah! I need to surprise him with this soon. :)

Thank you!

Mama Hen said...

This looks delicious! I hope that your holiday is going great! This recipe is good for these cold snowy days! Have a good day my friend!

Mama Hen

Unknown said...

Oh my how I love Clam Chowder and this one looks and sounds so delicious. BUT, I refuse to fry bacon in my house. Blech, what a mess. Maybe some leftover Christmas ham could be substituted?

Cranberry Morning said...

Okay, it's possible to use the ham, I suppose, but I wouldn't recommend it. Save the ham for scalloped potatoes with ham. BUT, you can cook the bacon between some paper towels in the microwave if you don't want the mess of a frypan. Then again, if you don't fry the bacon, how can you face those cute little downy woodpeckers and flickers who are waiting for the bacon grease? :-)

Unknown said...

Clam Chowder is my favorite! This looks wonderful Judy! I'd love a bowl right now.. it's too cold in Nebraska!! Can't wait to get back to the warmth of the desert!!

Ma What's 4 dinner said...

Christmas Clam Chowder??? LOVE IT! Any clam chowder is a favorite of mine!

Happy New Year, Love!

Lots of yummy love,
Alex aka Ma What's For Dinner

Mama Hen said...

Thank you for asking about my husband. He went through a lot and was in Intensive Care for days. He is doing much better and will be able to leave the hospital soon. Thank God. Thank you so much for your concern and friendship. I really appreciate it. It has been difficult and it is always nice to know that people care so much out there in blogland! I hope you have a great New Year's Eve! May the new year be filled with great health, plenty of laughter and abundant happiness!

Mama Hen

Yenta Mary said...

That is a GORGEOUS table setting! And how perfect was the timing that this consummate comfort food was served the day after the funeral, offering solace and warmth and tradition and continuity??? God was watching over you, Judy ... :)

Judy S. said...

Yum! Do you think it would work with lactose free milk?

Miss Melissa said...

ooooooooo that looks delish! :) Must try. I have a beautiful Potato and bacon soup that i love that kinda reminds of this. ;0) Thanks for popping by. It is too bad i dont live closer!!!!! I would have fun straightening things, and being OCD once its all done! :) LOL :) *Smiles*

Lori@Paisley Passions said...

Perfect timing! I was just getting ready to make some Clam Chowder for New Years Eve. I will have to give this recipe a try. Thanks for linking it up to Thrilling Thursday @ Paisley Passions :)

Deborah said...

No thank you...but very nice photos of the pretty table it sits on.
your friend :)

Jess said...

Hi! Just wanted to let you know that I featured this today on FTF! Stop by and grab a featured button for your blog if you would like! Thanks for participating in FTF and have a great weekend!

Miranda | Mangoes and Chutney said...

I love clam chowder. It really is one of those feel good soups. Thanks for sharing with Fat Camp Friday, see you next week!


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