Saturday, October 2, 2010

Pastor John's award-winning New England Clam Chowder

Here’s something new on Rick’s Recipes: a guest recipe! My friend John Castricum has a nice little blogsite called Reflections of a Reformed Pastor. Last week he posted his award winning clam chowder recipe in a post called the Theology of Clam Chowder. John is a native of the Bay State and serves a church near Boston, and this is the real deal.  I bumped into him this week, and asked him for permission to repost the recipe here, so here it is:

John writes:  “I prefer my chowder on the creamy side, rather than the milky side, so that is why I put in a flour/butter roux and use half and half. A good "mouth feel" is important. I know this is not exactly "health food" but I think you really need the fat to make it taste good (I know Julia Child is with me on this one). I also want to make sure people taste clams, so plenty of clam juice is important. Believe it or not, the bacon helps give it a "sea" taste. I think part of the appeal of clams and other shell fish is getting a sensation of "sea water" as you eat the clams. Same thing with clam chowder. I put in the clams at very last, since they cook pretty quickly and turn rubbery if they cook too much.

3 oz. Bacon

1 onion, chopped

3 stalks celery, with leaves, finely diced

1 1/4 lb. potatoes, diced to 1/2 inch cubes

1 quart clam juice

3/4 cup flour

1 1/2 sticks butter

1 1/2 quarts half and half

12 oz. chopped clams

salt and white pepper to taste

1. In a large stock pot, fry bacon over medium heat until crisp. Remove to paper towel. When cool, crumble into small pieces.

2. Saute onions and celery in bacon fat until soft. Add potatoes.

3. Add clam juice and bring to a simmer.

4. In a separate pan, melt butter and add the flour. Constantly stir mixture on medium-low heat until smooth, about 3 minutes.

5. Add flour/butter mixture to simmering stock. Stir until thick and stock comes back to a simmer.

6. Add half and half and bring back to simmer, stirring. Gently simmer for 15 minutes, stirring often.

7. Season with salt and pepper.

8. Add the clams. Simmer for a few minutes more and serve.”

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