Thursday, June 10, 2010
When the weather won't mind, make chowder.
1 large onion, chopped
4-5 large ribs celery, chopped
1 (14.5 oz) can sliced stewed or diced tomatoes
3 potatoes, cubed (1 large russet and 2 large reds is what I use - smaller dice will cook faster)
1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce (I like the basil, garlic, oregano but plain is fine too)
7 splashes tabasco (maybe ½ - ¾ tsp or to taste)
4 oz clam juice (that's ½ a bottle, freeze the rest for the next batch)
½ tsp sea salt
2 cans (6.5 oz each) chopped clams, undrained (or about 7 fresh or frozen chopped razor clams, if you've been out digging)
½ - 1 cup heavy cream
lemon pepper to taste
Chop the bacon and saute in a dutch oven/soup pot until crisp. Drain and set aside, reserving 1 tbsp of the drippings. (I admit that I tend to use a bit more than just the 1 tbsp.) Add the olive oil and the reserved drippings back to the pot and saute the chopped onion and celery until crisp tender.
Add water just to cover and simmer on low for 30 minutes. Add the diced tomatoes, tomato sauce and tabasco and simmer while dicing and adding the potatoes. Add the clam juice and simmer until potatoes are tender, adding water if necessary. (The spuds will cook faster with more water.)
Next add the clams with their juice and the bacon. Cook on medium low for 10 minutes. Last add the heavy cream. Depending on how much water you add, you may wish to use more or less. You are welcome to use part milk and some instant potato flakes or starch for added thickening if you choose. My mom always used potato buds to thicken the chowder when I was growing up. Season to taste with pepper or lemon pepper. (Don't let it boil after you add the cream, or it may assume a curdled appearance.) As with many soups, this is even better on the second day. It never lasts longer than that here but mom says it freezes for a while as well.
Enjoy it with a nice fresh loaf of bread, good for soup sopping. I love to make a "french sourdough". I can use unfed starter and still end up with a beautiful, slightly tangy loaf with a nice chewy texture and crispy crust. Hmm, maybe I'll post that one next...