Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Potato-less New England Clam Chowder

You know what I hate? Potatoes in my clam chowder. Seriously! I always feel like I'm getting ripped off when I get a bowl full of potatoes with one or two clams, and because of that, I started to hate potatoes in my chowder. That delicious starchy vegetable has become a bane in my side, so I decided to get rid of it completely. You heard me right. Blasphemy.

So sometimes I feel like a renegade because I am too lazy to look up recipes. I made this chowder purely on my instinct on what should be in it, and it turns out that I'm pretty much unprecedented. Hmmm. Oh well! I think it turned out super duper delicious; in fact one of the better chowders I've had.

1 carrot
4 stalks celery
3/4 onion (any kind)
1/2 large tomato
1 bay leaf
3 cloves garlic
1 chicken breast
1 cup of water
1 10-oz can of baby clams
2 strips of bacon (reserve rendered fat)
4-5 tablespoons of flour
1.5 cups milk (whole or 2% preferred)
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar

1. Place carrot, 2 stalks of celery, tomato, garlic, bay leaf, and chicken beast in with water and clam juice (from your can of clams). Add some salt and pepper (you can add more later). Bring to a boil, and then turn it down to a simmer for 30 minutes or until your carrot is tender. (You're making a vegetable & chicken broth.)
2. Cook two slices of bacon on medium heat. I find that if you cut them into tiny pieces before frying, they pieces are more crispy than if you were to crumble it after you've cooked the strip, but then the fat is harder to separate from the bacon pieces. Reserve the rendered fat in a bowl.
3. Slice the celery and dice the onion. Cook them together in the same pan you cooked the bacon in and drizzle with as much bacon grease as you want. The more bacon grease, the more bacon-y your chowder will be.
4. Now I drained the soup stock from the vegetables and meat. You just want the stock. I temporarily stored the stock in a smaller sauce pan.
5. In the pot that you were first using for the soup stock, dump your celery and onions (with some more bacon grease) into it. Once it's heated through, make your roux by dumping your flour in and stirring. Now pour your soup stock back in and stir, stir, stir. Heat until soup boils.
6. Pour in your milk and your clams. You just want to heat it through. Add in your red wine vinegar. Now it's time to eat!


I really just had to get rid of some chicken breast because I have a giant Costco bag of chicken and I move in two weeks! Although I do think the fresh vegetable/chicken broth is what really makes the soup. It gives the chowder a sweet taste.

I made this soup twice. This was the first stock, much messier, right? :)

Mmmm. Bacon!

>< My stove is so dirty! I don't know what happened! But but but you can see my rendered bacon fat off to the side. NICE!

I didn't really know how to properly make a roux, so the first time I did it, I mixed it in with the vegetables because I was afraid that I was going to get little dumplings in my soup (from clumpy chunks of flour), but that didn't happen! Phew!

I went to Panera and they ran out of their French baguette, and I was so disappointed! I had to get this other bread, and it did not go well with the chowder... So I just ate the soup by itself!

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