New England Clam Chowder

New England Clam ChowderHot Dogs & History

When planning Spring Break vacations, most people think sun and surf. I admit that a comfy spot on a beach with a Piña Colada does sound pretty good right about now, but at this point of our lives, my family is playing beat the clock when it comes to the traditional family vacation.

Right now, my kids are still alright with being seen in public with us—we don’t know how long it is going to last before we are subject to a lot of eye rolling and sulking in the corner. We are by no means cool in their eyes, however we are least okay enough that they aren’t embarrassed…much. (We don’t make it easy on them.) This year we are trading in the warm weather and sand for Boston and our Nation’s Capital, with a few side trips.

First stop is Boston for a little history, a little chowdah, and the chance to pour some tea in the harbor. (The boys can’t wait. Apparently tossing tea into the water is cool.) Anyone who has been reading these posts knows how baseball-crazy my family is, so of course, no trip to Boston would be complete without seeing Fenway and the Green Monster. We are going, but the Sox are still in spring training. My boys convinced us that we should drive to the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY. (Sure! Why not? It’s only a four-and-a-half hour ride…in good weather.)

From Cooperstown its south to Gettysburg, PA, a place I have wanted to go for a long time, and a must-see for anyone who can. As a History major, this was my one side trip demand. My kids have told me that they are okay if I geek out, which is good ‘cause it will happen whether I have their permission or not.

After that it is on to the crazy adventure that is Washington DC. Last time I visited was in 8th grade when Dinosaurs roamed the earth.

It should be a fun trip,, I know there will be some funny stories and I hope a lot of good memories. Below is a delicious recipe for clam chowder. The original calls for salt pork. I prefer the smokiness of bacon ’cause everything is better with bacon, so that’s how I make it.

New England Clam Chowder
Adapted from New England Soup factory Cookbook by Marjorie Drucker

3 tablespoons butter
1 medium yellow onion, peeled and diced
3 ribs celery, diced
4 ounces bacon, cut into ½ in pieces
5 red potatoes, peeled and cut into 3/4-inch cubes
5 cups clam juice
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon dried tarragon
1 teaspoon celery salt
1 1/2 pounds minced clams, preferably fresh
5 dashes Worcestershire sauce
2 cups heavy cream
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Oyster crackers, for serving

Cook bacon in a stockpot until it’s crispy and the fat has been rendered. Remove it from the pot and set aside.

In the same pot, melt the butter over medium high heat. Add the onion and celery, and sauté for 5 to 7 minutes. Add the potatoes, clam juice, bay leaves, tarragon, and celery salt. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium. Cover the pot, and simmer for 35 minutes. Add the clams and  simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes. Add the Worcestershire sauce, cream, salt, and pepper and reserved bacon.

Simmer an additional 7 minutes and remove from the heat. Remove the bay leaves.
Garnish with oyster crackers or sliced crusty bread.

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