Thursday, May 14, 2015

Recipe #76: New England Clam Chowder with a Sherry Sidecar

I personally am not a lover of new England clam chowder, but my neighbor, Nancy, is.  She presented me with some cleaned frozen clams and requested that I make some chowder, which I was glad to do.  Actually, this recipe turned out really, really good...of course dry sherry doesn't hurt the process either.  If you enjoy soup, you will like this one...please try it.

1 lb clams, this would be shelled, but raw               1 lb red and Yukon gold potatoes, skins left
5 slices bacon                                                                     on and cubed
1 medium onion, diced                                                2 tbsp flour
3-4 cups half and half                                                  2 bay leaves
1 tsp salt                                                                          2 8 oz bottles of clam juice
1/2 tsp dried thyme                                                      about one cup dry sherry

In a large dutch oven, brown bacon until just about crisp.  Remove bacon from pan, leaving the fat.  Add the onion and potatoes, cooking on medium heat for about 5-7 minutes.  Add bacon back into the pan.  Add salt and flour, stirring until all is incorporated, about 2 minutes.    Gradually add half and half, bay leaves and thyme, keeping heat on medium, until mixture thickens.  Bring to a boil and reduce heat to a simmer, cooking soup until potatoes are just about cooked through, about 10 minutes.  Stir in bottled clam juice.  Rinse clams to make sure all sand and grit are gone.  Put in a sieve to drain water.  Add to soup and simmer for about 5 minutes.  At this point you can add 1/2 cup sherry, tasting to see how much flavor you want it to bring to your soup.  Adjust.  I also put a little in a liqueur glass to accompany the bowl of soup.  Bon appetit!


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