Thursday, November 3, 2011

Clam Chowder. Version 2. New England Style.

The Hawthornes are cooking up chowders these days
after our friend, Marion, called the Rosie Hotline,
or the Rosie Hawtline, as suggested by Daughter Hawthorne,
to inquire about clams and chowders.
 Previously, Mr. Hawthorne made his version
of an Outer Banks Style Clam Chowder.
Today, Mr. Hawthorne is making
 a New England Style Clam Chowder.
The OB Style, (Yes, I refuse to use the OBX crap.)
 or Hatteras Style has a clear broth.
NE Style has a cream base.
 When I think of chowder,
 this is more what I have in mind
since I prefer bacon, butter, and cream in most anything.
Here's the prize, so focus.
 Mr. Hawthorne recalled one of the best clam chowders
 he's had so he called his friend Margaret D.
for her recipe.
 I thank you, Margaret, for allowing me to print your recipe.
 Here's Margaret's recipe:  
1 51 oz. can chopped clams
1/4 lb. bacon, chopped and fried 
  1 cup finely chopped onion  
4 red potatoes chopped in 1/4" dice
  3 cups heavy or light cream 
  1/4 tsp thyme
2 TB butter
  2 TB flour
sherry to taste
  bay leaf  
 ground pepper
 Saute bacon in a large deep pot (stock pot) until crispy.
 Remove bacon, saving drippings, and set bacon aside.
 Drain clams through a very fine cloth, 
reserving the liquid. 
 Thoroughly rinse the chopped clams
 in a colander and set aside.
 Peal and chop potatoes and onion. 
 Add onion to bacon drippings 
and saute until soft. 
Add potatoes and reserved strained clam liquid 
to cover potatoes.
 Add thyme, bay leaf, and salt and cook 
until potatoes are almost tender.
 While potatoes are cooking, make a roux of the butter and flour.
 Finely grind bacon in a food processor. 
 When potatoes are almost tender
 add in the finely ground bacon, clams, and cream.
 Slowly add roux and simmer
 until chowder is consistency you like.
 Finish with salt, pepper, and sherry to taste.
 Sprinkle with a little fresh chopped parsley if desired.

  Of course, the Hawthornes changed a few items.
 First, I used fresh herbs and Margaret's recipe is for dried herbs
 Since I'm using fresh,
 I increased the amount of thyme and bay leaves.
 Secondly, we used 2 regular baking potatoes,
 not 4 red potatoes, since I use what I have;
 however, the red potatoes would have given a nice color to the dish.
Also, I didn't want to process the bacon.
 I likey bakey so I wanted to know I was eating it.
I picked a few sprigs of thyme, 4 bay leaves, and some parsley.
I subbed the potatoes I had.

First, Mr. Hawthorne scissored the bacon into the pan.
Fry bacon until nice and crispy, remove, and set aside, reserving grease. $10.99 for a can of chopped clams.
We strained the clam juice through a sieve and cheesecloth.
Rinse the clams well.
Strained clam juice bottom left.
Chopped clams top left.
 Diced potatoes top right.
 Diced onions bottom right.
Onions went into the bacon grease first.
Let them sweat a minute or two, scraping up the goodie bits.
Add in the potatoes and saute for a couple of minutes.
The recipe said "add clam liquid to cover potatoes."
Mr. Hawthorne used all the clam juice and covered 'em real good.
Then he stripped the thyme leaves into the pot.
Add in the bay leaves.
Remember, these are fresh, so I have four.
Four dried bay leaves would overwhelm.
If using dried, only use one leaf.
A little sea salt in.
Grind in some pepper.
Let the potatoes get almost tender. Low heat.
While the potatoes are cooking, make the roux.
 Melt two tablespoons butter and add two tablespoons flour.
Over medium heat, stir in flour, squishing out lumps.
I liked the movement in the spatula, so I included this picture.
You don't want the roux to brown.
 You do want to cook for a few minutes
 to get out the raw taste of the flour.
Taste test.

Mr. Hawthorne decided to go ahead and pulverize the bacon.
 Next time, I'd use 1/2 pound bacon
 and leave it in bigger crumbles.
Probably reserve some to crumble over the top.
 Like I said, I like to know I'm eating bacon.
 I like to see it.
Mr. Hawthorne went ahead and poured the bacon in
. Be sure to extend your pinkie finger like Mr. H.
Clams in the pot.
Instead of 3 cups of heavy cream, we only used a pint.
I liked the drops of cream and the one little drop hitting the soup.
The roux is nice and cooked and ready to go into the chowder.

Pour roux in, stirring and cooking until thickened.
Add a nice splash of sherry, to taste.
 I'm loving this chowder right now,
 but I want it just a tad thicker.
I'm going to use a beurre manie to thicken it up
. A beurre manie, literally "kneaded butter,"
 is simply a mixture of equal amounts flour and softened butter.
Knead it by hand until you have a nice, cohesive ball o' dough.
 The butter coats the flour granules
 and you'll have lump-free thickening.

Like so.
Add the ball into the stock.
But I got distracted.
And started making hand shadows.

This is an owl.
And this is lunch.

We certainly did.
Very smooth and silky texture.
I like my parsley whole-leaf.
 Not itty-bitty.
 Should've saved some of that bacon crumble for the top, too.
 You can't beat a good chowder.


E. A. Marion said...

I forgot to ask you - do you do anything about sand in fresh clams? I got mixed signals on that one from my books...

Rosie Hawthorne said...

I didn't have a problem with any sand.

I scrubbed each clam individually to get rid of grit on the outside.

I wouldn't worry about Littlenecks, which are mostly farm-raised, since they're usually flushed and cleaned before selling.

I have read that you can put the clams in a big bowl of cool water and add cornmeal to encourage the clams to spit out more sand. Let sit for an hour or so, then rinse.

Anonymous said...

Hey Rosie, have you ever raked/dug your own clams and eaten them?

Rosie Hawthorne said...

Yes, Anony, we have. It's not worth the trouble.

Catherine said...

Dear Rosie, Beautiful! You cook just the way I like to eat! Superb. I love the hand shadows too. You have a good sense of humor. Blessings, Catherine xo