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Saturday, January 21, 2017

Clam Chowder and a bit of History

What a beautiful place New England is. Known for Boston or New England style chowder you would be surprised the variety that they come in. Native Americans would string the shells like beads and use them as money or "wampum". These replace the fish in fish milk stews of coastal England and France to become New England Chowder. 
.My aunt who lives in Maine has a husband who works on the docks taking in fish, clams, crabs and who knows what else. In Maine the clam chowder becomes even more diverse as those living on one side of the bay like their clam chowder made with tomatoes while the other side like it made with milk and no tomatoes. 
Clam chowder became well known in Boston and the sorrounding area. Ye Olde Union Oyster House has been around for 250 years. Clam Chowder was also mentioned in the historical book Moby Dick by Herman Melville.
Those living in Western Rhode Island prefer clear chowder and others would prefer just enough tomatoes for a pretty pink color. 

New England Clam Chowder

recipe source here
Serves 6 to 8
1 cup (2 sticks) salted butter
1 large onion, cut into ½-inch dice
2 stalks celery, cut into ½-inch dice
1/2 cup flour
2 baking potatoes, peeled, cut into ½-inch dice
4 cups whole milk
3 (6-ounce) cans minced clams, strained, chopped, juice reserved
1 cup minced curly parsley
½ pound white fish filet, cut into ½-inch dice (optional)
1 cup whipping cream
2 ½ teaspoons kosher salt, or to taste
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
1. Melt the butter in a large Dutch oven. Add the onions and celery and cook over medium low heat until tender, about 15 minutes. Stir occasionally.
2. Add flour and whisk to mix well, about 1 ½ minutes. Add potatoes, milk, reserved clam juice, half of parsley and whisk thoroughly. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, covered, until the potatoes are tender, 10 to 20 minutes.
3. Add chopped clams and fish (if using) and simmer for 10 minutes.
4. Add the whipping cream, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes longer.
5. Save about 2 tablespoons of the remaining minced parsley in a small bowl for garnish,  and add the rest to the chowder. Stir well.
6. Serve in warm bowls and garnish with reserved minced parsley.
Note: You may substitute 1 pound of salmon, cut in ¾-inch cubes, for the white fish filet. Add ½ cup or more milk to adjust consistency if necessary.

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