If you’re fond of sand dunes and salty air. Quaint little villages here and there, you’re sure to fall in love with Old Cape Cod.
This was the song that was running through my head a few weeks ago as my family vacationed on the cape. Actually, the part running through my head was the “taste of a lobster stew, served by a window with an ocean view”. However since “lobstah” was at a premium that week, I decided to make the next best thing, New England Clam Chowder. Now, I understand that there are more recipes for New England Clam Chowder than there are counties in New England, and each person may claim that their recipe is the oldest, or the best, or has won the most prizes at the chowder festivals. I claim none of that, however, my family thinks this recipe is the best, and maybe yours will too. This is a fairly loose recipe, so don’t be afraid to add more herbs, wine, or seasonings. When I made this for our vacation – I pre-cooked and then froze the broth base, then added all of my clams and other ingredients later, this way, I could spend more time exploring the “quaint little villages” and less time in the kitchen.
Creamy New England Clam Chowder
1- 64 oz can of clam broth or 8 cups of homemade clam broth
3 Tbs butter
1 medium onion – chopped
4 stalks of celery – sliced about 1/4 inch thick
1/2 cup good quality white wine
3 medium russet potatoes – cubed
1/4 cup flour
2 cups whole milk
1 pint of heavy cream
1 – 2 cups of chopped clams depending on preference
3 – 4 sprigs of fresh thyme
2 sprigs of fresh sage
In a large pot, melt 1 tablespoon of butter and sauté onion and celery until translucent. Add the rest of the butter and when it has melted, stir in the 1/4 cup of flour. Add one cup of the clam broth to the pot, stir to create a roux. Cook over medium heat until the roux has thickened, then add the rest of the clam broth. Strip the leaves off of 2 sprigs of thyme and finely chop one sprig of sage – add this to the broth and then add the potatoes and white wine and cook until potatoes are almost fork tender. Rinse the clams to be sure that you aren’t adding grit to the chowder, then add them to the pot along with the milk and heavy cream. Add the rest of the herbs, reduce the heat to low and let the chowder simmer until it has thickened a little more (about ten minutes). Be sure to season well with salt and pepper.
This chowder truly is best served by a window with an ocean view, but if you don’t have one nearby, at least close your eyes and dream…