Chowder is the general term that is used to describe a variety of thick soups and stews prepared from seafood or vegetables. Chowders typically have a milk or cream base. While most soups are thickened with flour, chowders are thickened using crushed ship biscuit.
About Clam Chowder
The word chowder has been derived from the Latin word calderia. Calderia means a cauldron. A cauldron is a large cooking pot in which most of the vegetable and fish stews are prepared. Chowder was typically considered a poor man’s fare. However, chowder is now widely served in most restaurants across the United States.
History Of Clam Chowder
If popular lore is to be believed, clam chowder was invented by Brenton fishermen, who set sail from Newfoundland to seek their fortunes down south in New England. These fishermen who mixed the discarded fish bits with easily available ingredients in a large cauldron came up with this hearty and soul satisfying soup preparation. Later the fish offal was replaced with clams.
Clam chowder is typically served with oyster crackers, sourdough bread or saltine crackers.
Whole Clams – 2 Quarts
Cornstarch – 1 Tbsp
Clam Juice – 2 Cups
Fresh Potatoes Peeled and Diced – 3 Pound
Salt Pork – 4 Ounces
Large Onion (Finely Chopped) – 1
Milk (Scalded) – 3 Cups
Unsalted Butter (Softened) – 2 Tbsp
All Purpose Flour – 2 Tbsp
Salt – To Taste
Freshly Milled Black Pepper – To Taste
1. Clean the whole clams thoroughly. Take an extra large bowl and fill it with water. Add cornstarch to the water. Now drop the cleaned clams into the bowl of water. Leave the clams in the bowl containing cornstarch and water for about half an hour.
2. After half an hour remove the clams from the cornstarch solution and rinse them thoroughly under running water.
3. Place a large pot over medium heat. Pour two cups of clam juice into the pot. Allow the clam juice to boil nicely. Now add the cleaned clams into the pot containing the boiled clam juice. Reduce the flame and cover the pot.
4. Leave the pot covered till the clams begin to open their shells. This will take about five minutes. Once all the clams have opened their shells, remove them from the pot. Extract the clam meat and chop the meat nicely.
5. Next place a pot of salted water over a high flame and bring the water to boil. Drop the diced potatoes into the pot and cook them for three minutes. Drain the cooked potatoes and keep them aside. Take a large saucepan and place it over medium heat.
6. Sauté the salt pork till it has a nice crispy texture. Remove the salt pork pieces from the frying pan. Drain the salt pork fat into a small bowl. Now take two tablespoons of this fat and pour it back into the heated saucepan.
7. Sauté the onions in the salt pork fat till they become translucent. To the sautéed onions, add milk. Next add the cooked potatoes and the clam juice. Bring the ingredients to boil. Now lower the flame and cook the ingredients for another 8 minutes Take a small bowl and mix the flour and butter to form a smooth roux.
8. Add the roux to the saucepan. Next add cream. Bring the ingredients to boil once again. Then turn down the flame and allow the ingredients to cook for another ten minutes. Finally add the chopped clam meat into the saucepan and cook the clam meat thoroughly. Add salt and freshly milled pepper The New England clam chowder is ready to serve.