Grammy’s New England Clam Chowdah…

I like food, a lot. At some point over the last 5 or 6 years I realized if I like food, I better learn to make it and start pulling my weight around the kitchen. Now I like to cook. I like cooking even more in the late fall and through the winter because the hearty, body warmin’ dishes are some of my favorites. Clam chowder is just such a meal and Grammy made the best. Don’t get me wrong, this is a staple year-round for an ex-pat New Englander. When the Christmas tree goes up though, it’s the first meal I think of because Grammy always made a cask of it for Christmas Eve. The tree went up today, so let’s get shuckin’:

clams (and lots of ’em)
4 cans minced clams
4 cans chopped clams
3 cans whole clams
3 bottles clam juice
large yellow onion (diced)
6 fist-sized potatoes (peeled; cube 4 and dice 2)
1 quart half-and-half (don’t be afraid to go low-fat here, but don’t tell Grammy)
some of your favorite brew – I use Guinness here (my own addition – again, don’t tell Grammy!)
few heaping tablespoons flour
stick o’ butter
cracked pepper

Open a Guinness for yourself. Melt a few tablespoons butter in your BFP and sautee the onion on low-mid heat. Open all the canned clams – DON’T DRAIN. You’ve earned one, so go ahead and open a second beer and generously pour half on the sauteed onion. Discard the remaining half by drinking it. Pour clam juice AND liquid from all but 2 of the cans of clams. Add potatoes, a few tablespoons of butter, and turn up the heat for a nice rolling boil. Add some pepper. Stir frequently and keep checking the potatoes. They are ready when soft enough to mash. I like to get a little crazy here and toss the hand masher in their for a couple whacks. I like to have varying sizes and consistencies. Whether you want to smash some or not, it’s time to add all the clams. REMEMBER: You still have two liquid-filled cans. Before those little guys get tossed in the BFP, drain the liquid into a small bowl and slowly whisk in the flour. Add half-and-half and some more pepper. Stir well. Reduce heat to low and, once the chowder is heated through, slowly stir in your clammy-flour thickener. Add pepper. Keep stirring until it tastes good. As always, serve with bread and beer. In this case I paired with pale ale. I find that something magical happens if you have the same beer you used in your recipe – or that could just be the beer talking. See for yourself.


~ by staciandandy on November 29, 2009.

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