Will it be too embarrassing if I say I have discovered this amazing soup just couple of years back, hope the food bloggers community will be able to pardon my ignorance ! I stumble upon this creamy soup in a non-descript seafood shack along the coast of Atlantic in Newport, and my likeness for it was almost instant.
When we moved to Rhode Island in the summer of 2011, the lush green landscape of the country in a rural backdrop was the perfect thing we were looking for, having lived in a metro city for decades, it was a welcoming change.
I had no idea about the place, and so each weekend we used to roam around the country and explored many of its secrets, like our favourite countryside drive, the picturesque church in a haunting backdrop, so many brooks streaming here and there, a family owned grocer and deli who stocks the best collection of seafood, the farmer’s market which was always buzz with the freshest produce, the Italian connection of the State’s culture and cuisine and perhaps the luxury of staying in the vicinity of Massachusetts border, our most favourite shopping destination at Wrentham.
I have come across many version of this clam chowder soup, some are too creamy and some strikes a perfect balance between creamy and clear soup, I am more inclined towards the latter, the Rhode Island version of clam chowder is clear soup, but the potatoes in it scream for some cream bath 😀 , hence when I chanced upon this clam chowder soup in my favourite deli shop, I was overwhelmed with its perfect balance of cream and an unmistakable clam flavour. Soon it became my routine to visit that shop for a box of clam chowder soup and bounty of fresh sun-dried tomatoes, along with fresh fillet of fish, almost every weekend !
Eventually the day arrived when I decided to give it a try, actually it was more an urgency, a necessity because lately I was feeling little ashamed to barge in the deli shop every Saturday and asking for the box of clam chowder soup, I knew (I can be a mind reader sometimes ! ) that deli guy must be laughing at my back ! Sometimes I did such things that was even beyond my comprehension too !
So when I decided to make clam chowder soup, the first thing that comes into my mind was of using fresh clams in the soup rather than the canned one and believe me it makes a lot of difference in the flavour. And while buying the fresh clams, or clam meat always ask for clam juice too, you will love the overwhelming clam flavour, otherwise the soup will lost its flavour to potatoes !
Many loves to add bacon in the chowder , bacon is a bomb in potato soup, no doubt about it, but here, somehow the idea of using bacon or salted pork in the clam chowder does not appeal to me much. Here is my take on New England’s famous clam chowder soup sans bacon or pork and with just very basic ingredients. Hope you will love it.
Recipe: New England’s clam chowder soup
Summary: New England’s clam chowder soup – a creamy soup with milk, potatoes and clams with extra clam juices for an unmistakable clam flavour.
- Fresh clams or clam meat with juices : 1 packet / 20 oz
- Chopped onion (yellow) : 1 cup
- Celery hearts (chopped) : 1 cup
- 1 tablespoon butter
- Garlic : minced 1 tbsp
- Potatoes : peeled & cubed 2 cups
- Butter : 3 tbsp
- Flour : 3 tbsp
- Milk / half and half : 3 cups
- Cream : 1/2 cup
- Salt and black pepper to taste
- Herbs : freshly chopped parsley or dried thyme or rosemary (optional)
- Warm the butter in a pot and saute the onion and celery until softened.
- Add garlic and saute for a minute, next add the potatoes along with the clam juice .
- Add enough water to cover potatoes, if requires only. Cover and let the potatoes simmer for 10-15 minutes, or until tender and soft.
- In a separate pan warm some butter and stir in the flour. Let it cook for a minute.
- Stir in milk or half and half, and bring to a boil, stirring regularly.
- Add this milk and flour mixture to the soup pot, stir it with a wire whisk until no lumps remain.
- Add the clams, let it cook for couple of minutes. Season the soup with salt, spices and herbs.
- Finish it with cream and bring everything to a rapid boil and served warm or at desired temperature.
Preparation time: 15 minute(s)
Cooking time: 45 minute(s)
Number of servings (yield): 3
Culinary tradition: USA (General)
I have made clam chowder in two versions, one with flour as shown in the top pics and other without using flour in the soup, as shown below. Just milk and cream does not gives the soup a right consistency and texture, it needs some flour too, but too much of it can spoil the soup also. Just couple of tablespoon of flour is just right for it, you need to blend it well with the cream and milk. Just creamy but not sticky !
If you are not incline towards clams then you can substitute it with corn to make corn chowder and voila ! corn and potatoes in a creamy soup, the perfect way to repulse the winter blues.
And now some quizzz for you !
My dear freind Sayantani @ Homemaker’s diary has a giveaway of 1500 Rs gift e- voucher at her blog, and she needs some winter warmers for the event, so thought of sending this warm bowl of clam chowder soup to her event, and let me try my luck too !