A year ago the river had been frozen over for almost 3 weeks and we didn't see open water again until March.
Here the second week of Winter and we've only had a couple of really cold days. One of those days left some ice along the river's edge but it's gone.
The weekend forecast is for unseasonably mild weather and even with rain I'm ok with this.
Clam chowder is a favorite any time of year but it's especially good this time of year. I checked and I can't believe I haven't blogged my clam chowder recipe. New England Clam Chowder. Of course. Anyone can prepare a killer clam chowder quickly and easily.
I've tried more clam chowder recipes than I can count and found simply: It's all about the clams. Herbs are conspicuously absent from my recipe.
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped celery. I like to get some celery leaves in the mix.
- 1 tablespoon onion powder
- 8 oz. clam juice. I like Snow's.
- 1 small Yukon Gold potato, peeled and cubed
- 8 oz. chopped cooked clams. Canned clams are excellent for this.
- Half cup of half and half
- 1 or 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon finely ground black pepper
Like your chowder thick? Use more flour. Not so thick? Use less. Hard as it is to believe you can even use powdered non fat milk instead of half and half and *still* make a perfectly delicious creamy clam chowder. You do have to use butter though.
Melt your butter in a saucepan. Add the chopped celery and sweat it for 8 to 10 minutes. Until it's soft and semi transparent. It's important the celery be chopped as finely as you can chop it.
Add the ground pepper and onion powder, stir into the butter, add the clam juice.
When the clam juice comes to a boil add the cubed potato and reduce the heat, let that simmer until the potato is tender, 10 or 12 minutes. When the potatoes are done I take the half and half and, in a small jar, mix in the all purpose flour and give it a good shake. The I add it to the chowder and bring it back to a boil. It has to come back to a boil. Sometimes I add a little more butter here. That helps it thicken and makes it more silky. Reduce the heat and let it simmer for a few minutes to cook out the fresh flour flavor.
Remove the chowder from the heat.
Stir in the clams and any juice that might be with them.
Oyster crackers are traditional with New England Clam Chowder. I like a rustic bread with it myself.
A small bowl is a wonderful first course for a large meal and a big bowl is an excellent main course.
Every once in a long while I add a pinch of thyme to my chowder but otherwise I don't mess with this recipe much.