Last Meal Followers

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

If you die this week.... must have a bowl of the Classic Clam Chowder. For me it's a combination of the leaves falling, the crisp autumn air, and the light rain that just won't go away - that makes me want to take the day off, stay in bed, and snuggle up to some hearty soup. If you have a good bakery near your home I recommend you ask them for a crusty loaf of bread that can easily be hollowed out to be made into a bread bowl.

Clam Broth:

* 4 slices bacon, chopped
* Olive oil
* 1 onion, chopped
* 2 garlic cloves, smashed
* 6 sprigs fresh thyme
* 1 bay leaf
* 16 littleneck clams, scrubbed well
* 1/2 lemon, juiced
* 1/2 cup white wine
* 3 cups water
* 2 tablespoons butter
* Extra-virgin olive oil
* 4 slices bacon, chopped
* 1 onion, chopped
* 2 garlic cloves, minced
* Leaves from 4 sprigs fresh thyme
* 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
* 2 cups heavy cream
* 2 Idaho potatoes, peeled and diced
* Salt and freshly ground black pepper
* 16 littleneck clams, scrubbed well
* 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley


Start by making the clam broth: Put a large pot over medium heat, add the bacon and saute until the fat is rendered and the bacon is browned, about 5 minutes. Remove the cooked bacon pieces from the pot and reserve them for something else. Add a 1-count of olive oil, the onion, garlic, thyme, and bay leaf and cook, stirring, until the vegetables are translucent, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the clams, lemon juice, white wine, and water and bring to a low boil. Reduce the heat, cover the pot, and simmer for 10 or 15 minutes to steam open the clams. Remove the clams from the pot, discarding any that don't open. Strain the broth into a bowl. Pull the clams out of their shells, chop them, and set them aside separately; discard the shells. Set the broth aside.

Heat the butter and 1 tablespoon olive oil in a soup pot over medium heat. Add the bacon, onion, garlic, and thyme and cook until the bacon renders its fat and the vegetables are good and soft, 8 to 10 minutes. Dust the vegetables with flour and stir to coat everything well. Pour in the clam broth and bring to a boil. Add the cream and the potatoes, bring to a boil and boil hard for about 7 minutes, until the potatoes break down (this will help to thicken the soup and give it a good texture). Add the chopped clams and season with salt and pepper.

Now add the 16 clams in their shells. Cover and simmer to open the clams, about 10 minutes. Stir in the parsley and serve hot.


Ark Dog said...

I have always thought organic bowls for soup (hollowed out bread, pumpkins, squashes, etc.) to be a little contrived. Go to Williams Sonoma and pick out a classic soup toureen (assuming you are planning on making soup more than a couple of times a year)

LastMealFoodie said...

If you think about all the times you use crackers, oyster crackers, or bread to dip in your soup - why not a bread bowl? As the soup level lowers there is nothing like tearing away little pieces of the crust to dip in and enjoy. I can see the non edible Squash or pumpkin vessel as too artistic or pushing the envelope on a classic dish. I can only partially agree with you.