So I am sorta famous for my clam chowder. I totally do not take credit for it… I got this recipe from Sharon Chiusano (I hope I spelled that right) when we were stationed in Monterey, CA in 1982. They lived across from us in military housing. I have never found a better recipe that is totally foolproof. Over the years I have put it in a few community cookbooks and I even won Most Unusual at a Chili Cookoff once (don’t ask). *smile* My daughter, who considers herself a clam chowder connoisseur, says it’s the BEST and she’s had clam chowder in some pretty great places including Martha’s Vineyard, San Francisco, Boston, etc. OK… the most important part of this recipe… Do it Exactly how it says, at least the first time. I’ve done a few variations over the years but if you follow the recipe… it Always works!
Cook 5 slices of chopped bacon in a large saucepan. I’ve gone up to seven pieces… my kids like it bacony. You do need the grease so if you change to turkey bacon or something with less grease you will need to compensate.
Add in 1/2 c chopped onion and cook until translucent. This has become 1 small to med onion over the years. Add 4 TBSP of butter, once the onion has cooked. Yesterday I cooked 7 pieces of bacon so there was more grease so I just used 1 TBSP. If you use just 5 slices or a less greasy meat, use all 4 TBSP of butter. You cannot skip this step.
Once the butter has melted, whisk in 1/2c of flour until smooth thenremove from heat and whisk in 2c 1/2 & 1/2 until smooth. Set aside. I don’t use a whisk, the paddle seems to work just fine but remember, the goal is for the flour to be totally blended into the grease/butter and then the 1/2&1/2 must be totally blended into the flour mixture until smooth. No Lumps
Meanwhile, chop 4 peeled carrots and 1lb peeled potatoes and place in a microwave safe bowl. You want the pieces to be relatively small and uniform so that they cook evenly. I have added celery to this mixture over the years. I did 5 carrots and 3 Large potatoes last night.
Cover vegetables with 2c of your Hottest tap water and microwave for 15-16 minutes on high until the vegetables are tender but not mushy. This is always the step that gets people but Trust Me. Last night it took about 20-25 minutes to cook probably because there were a few more vegies and it all depends on the power of your microwave.
Drain the LIQUID from the vegetables into the cream mixture and stir until smooth. Add 2 tsp. instant chicken bouillon to the liquid and stir in.
Stirring frequently, heat the broth mixture over medium high heat until thickened. It will definitely thicken to a good consistency. Turn down the heat slightly when thickened, you don’t want to singe anything.
Stir in the cooked vegetables and three cans of minced clams INCLUDING the liquids in the cans. These liquids add just the perfect amount of clam-y taste.
Add salt & pepper to taste. I have to admit that I NEVER add additional salt but we do like fresh ground pepper.
Serve with sliced sourdough bread. I meant to take a picture of the chowder all served up, pretty but… YUM… just couldn’t wait and there wasn’t a Drop left after all was said and done. *smile*
I’ve considered changing the recipe… adding corn… some suggestions of adding wine or port (thank you, dear Heart) but my daughter is a purist and, frankly, this is pretty damned good chowder. Thanks to Sharon – wherever she is!