Life is definitely rosier when you live on the Oregon Coast surrounded by pristine beaches, intensely green landscape, sunny summer skies and super friendly people. One would be hard pressed to starve to death here either because there's plenty of plenty if you know what I mean. In fact as I write this post, Big Guy's out in our yard picking huckleberries for this morning's pancake breakfast. Sorry 'bout that ...did I brag a little too much?
I developed this recipe for "Yachats Blush Clam Chowder" almost 5 years ago when Big Guy and I were vacationing in Yachats, a coastal town 9 miles south of here. Little did I know at the time we'd make a house overlooking Big Guy's clamming honey hole our permanent home. Lucky huh!
An ode to the flavors of the southwest, this chowder is a cross between the red tomatoey Manhattan style chowder and the more common creamier New England version. It just happens to be Big Guy's favorite no doubt because it has a touch of spicy heat thanks to red chili peppers and hot salsa along with a cup of tomato sauce which gives the creamy concoction its lovely rosy hue.
A breeze to make particularly with fresh cockles right from Waldport Bay, it can also be fashioned from frozen or canned clams (if you must). The twenty clams that went into last night's pot may have made it more of a stew than a chowder but no one was complaining when there were more clams than bacon or potatoes. Funny how that happens, huh.
Yachats Blush Clam Chowder an original from JBug’s Kitchen Antics inspired by Pacific Northwest Cooking Secrets by Kathleen DeVanna Fish
4 slices applewood smoked bacon, diced
2 Tablespoons butter
6 Tablespoons flour
3 cups half & half
1-8 ounce bottle clam juice
1 cup tomato sauce
1/2 cup salsa (use either hot or medium)
4 to 5 medium red potatoes, peeled and diced
1 large onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped or 1 teaspoon dried
1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes (or more to taste)
2 teaspoons Old Bay seasoning
1/3 cup white wine
2-1/2 cups chopped clams (or more)
Lemon pepper seasoning to taste
Fry bacon in large Dutch oven until crisp. Remove bacon from pan, leaving drippings. Add butter and decrease heat to medium low. Add flour to drippings and stir together well to make a roux. Cook roux, stirring constantly for 5 minutes. Do not allow roux to brown. Add chopped onion and garlic to roux and cook until onions are soft. Add potatoes and cook for additional 3 or 4 minutes, stirring often. Add clam juice, milk, tomato sauce, salsa, basil, chili flakes and Old Bay seasoning. Stir well to combine. Bring almost to a boil, cover, lower heat to medium low and cook until potatoes are done (approx. 20 minutes). Stir pot often to prevent sticking. Taste to adjust seasoning as necessary. Add chopped clams, bacon and white wine. Heat for 2 minutes. Serve with oyster crackers. Makes 6 to 8 servings.
Two year's ago - Curried Beef and Tomato Sauce with Pasta
Three year's ago - Indian Spiced Fried Chicken