It's great soup weather down here in Southern Arid-zona - been darn cold if you want to know the truth, although I also realize "cold" is a relative word. I've snuggled into silk underwear and fleece for the past couple of days and even Max has taken a liking to wearing a coat indoors. Honestly I'm not complaining though. The heat will be here soon enough.
Last night's version of New England style Clam Chowder is from Piret's Cookbook by George and Piret Munger which was gifted to me by a dear friend way back in 1988. I love their style and have never been disappointed with anything I've made from their book. Course saying all of that, as you know, I rarely follow a recipe to the letter and that didn't change last night.
While you'll see there are several versions of Clam Chowder coming from JBug's Kitchen, this one is on the lighter side even though there's heavy cream in it. Along with the usual sauteed onion, I added a little chopped carrot for sweetness, russet potatoes, lots of fresh thyme and black pepper as well as a good amount of white wine (that's good amount not necessarily good wine. I tend to drink the cheaper stuff - ha). Add some clam juice, vegetable stock and some of those Waldport Bay clams the big guy harvested way back in July and we brought back with us on dry ice, the soup is finished with a cup of heavy cream.
Compared to the usual 3 or 4 cups of half and half, the finished product tastes much lighter but just as rich. I thought it was lovely and the big guy liked it too, although he stressed his favorite is still the Yachat's Blush version. Of course it would be since it has a hint of spicy southwestern style heat added. Oh well, poor him ...he'll have to wait a while for a repeat of that one. Download Clam Chowder - New England Style
Clam Chowder – New England Style (adapted from Piret’s Cookbook)
5 slices side bacon, diced
1 large yellow onion, chopped
1/2 cup chopped carrots
2 large russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/4 inch cubes
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
1/2 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
1-1/2 cups white wine
1 – 8 ounce bottle clam juice
1 cup vegetable stock
1 cup chopped cleaned clams (and any juices)
3 tablespoons flour (I used Wondra)
1 cup heavy cream
Salt to taste
Chopped fresh parsley
Heat a medium sized heavy bottom pot over low heat. Add bacon and cook until fat has rendered, then increase heat and cook until bacon is crisp. Remove from pan and drain all but 2 tablespoons of drippings. Add onion and carrot to pot and sauté until onion has softened. Add potatoes, cooked bacon, thyme and black pepper. Cook for one minute, stirring constantly. Add wine, bring to a boil and cook uncovered until wine has reduced by half. Add clam juice and vegetable stock, bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover and cook until potatoes are just tender (about 10 minutes). Drain clam juice from clams and add to flour. Stir until smooth, and add to pot. Cook, stirring often until soup has thickened. Add cream and heat until mixture is steaming, then add clams. Remove pot from heat, cover and let sit for 5 minutes to cook clams. Taste for seasoning and add salt as required. Garnish with parsley. Serves 4 (or 2 very hungry gluttons).