Monday, January 11, 2010

Clam Chowder to die for!

So I dont think I will have time to post something and this is what I will be making for dinner tomorrow--started on the stove and finished in the Crock Pot. I LOVE my crock pot for days when I dont have time or dont feel like spending tons of time on dinner. If you dont Crock Pot often, then this is one you can feel comfortable starting with because you can be assured there is enough liquid that nothing will burn. Anyway, this recipe came from the Boston Globe Cookbook my dad got me when he went to Boston on a business trip. I love the recipe and so far its the only recipe I have tried from the book! I'll have to look through it to see if there is anything else good in there...

New England Clam Chowder
By Boston Globe Cookbook

4 slices bacon, cut up, or 4 tbsp diced salt pork or ham
1 medium onion
1-2 tbsp flour
2 c strained clam juice
1 medium potato, peeled and diced (I dont peel them)
pinch of dried or powdered thyme (optional)
1 c milk
1 c chopped or minced clams
salt and fresh ground pepper to taste.
saltines or pilot crackers (optional)
1 can corn, drained (my own addition)

To cook right before serving: Slowly cook bacon or salt pork in 1 1/2 quart saucepan, until pieces are crisp. Add onion, and cook, stirring until tender, but not brown. Add flour and clam juice and stir til combined. Add potato, thyme and bring to a boil, cover, and simmer 15 minutes. Stir in milk, and reheat but do not boil. Add clams, and reheat again, but do not boil. Taste and add salt and pepper if you need.

Changes for slow cooker:
Preheat Crock Pot to high. Cook off salt pork or bacon, onion. Add flour and clam juice, stir. Pour into warm Crock Pot, add potatoes, milk, thyme, and clams. I also add a drained can of corn. Change heat setting to Low, and simmer in Crock Pot for 8 hours.

1. I sometimes use milk and half and half instead of just milk. Makes it a bit more rich, but also helps with the thickening.
2. Like I said, I also add corn, I like the flavor of it, and it adds good color. I also serve it with a bit of cheddar cheese grated on top.
3. Recipe calls for bacon or salt pork. I have found bacon has a pretty strong flavor that can overwhelm the flavor of the clams. I havent tried salt pork yet, and this time I am trying ham instead because it tends to be milder. The only issue with ham, is that it's leaner, so you might need to add a tablespoon or two of vegetable oil or olive oil to help with the whole roux issue when you add the flour (thickening agent). When adding flour, make sure bacon and onions are coated by it, and then add clam juice. Stir to combine and you will see it will start to thicken right away.
4. Clam juice--you dont need to buy the whole amount of clam juice in the bottle by itself. Most cans of clams come canned in their own juice, and if you drain the 2-3 cans of clams, you'll end up with half of your clam juice right there.

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