Posted by on Jan 5, 2007 in food | 5 comments

I really got into a stew with this Weekend’s Cookbook Challenge hosted by Shaun at Winter Skies, Kitchen Aglow. My problem is that soup and stew seem so much alike to me. They are brothy concoctions that don’t satisfy with their little substance.

I think I could stand stew if it were redefined as a hearty meal that can be eaten with a fork. So that’s my intent. I got this clam chowder recipe from Everyday Food. Here’s how it went.

I tried to convince my husband that for the New Year’s weekend we should go razor claming. Two issues put a damper on this activity. First we went out of town for the weekend. Secondly our tight budget didn’t allow for us to buy licenses and clam guns, etc. Maybe another time we can hunt down these little diggers. We’ll bring our little digger dog, Frankie, and let her go to town. She loves the beach and can now run wild without Fred screaming at her like she’s going to be swept away by the next wave. I suppose that from the dachshund perspective the waves are much more treacherous, but I digress.

As a knitter I stash yarn. In fact I have a full closet that is mostly yarn. I secretly stash food also. Some of my stash is needy – like the squash. The clams are not. A proud crustacean is brought into the kitchen alive. Its protective covering gives it a fighting chance to avoid the hot water that will open it up. These clams have been beaten into a can and made to suffer the complete humiliation of other sea creatures such as tuna and crabs.

Despite the intrigue of whether a clam will be a good one, the can is convenient. This recipe is a real winner also. It is delicious and creamy. Sorry if you’re a Manhattan chowder lover.

The recipe is from an older Everyday Food. If you have not noticed, I am really into Everyday Food. I do have to laugh occasionally. I was reading one of the issues from the first year and noticed in the Reader’s Recipe section an interesting looking recipe and out of curiosity looked at what part of the country it came from. It was from Martha Stewart herself. Too odd. Martha certainly does some good things, but I’m amused that she touts herself so much and thinks so highly of herself. The crafts and home improvements that she presents are obviously more than she could produce by herself. So thanks goes to the Martha Stewart people for this recipe – not necessarily Martha herself.

Yumminess. Follows

Creamy Clam Chowder

Everyday Food November 2003

• 12 cherrystone clams (1 ½ lbs), scrubbed well – I used 1 can 6oz
• 2 slices bacon, finally chopped
• 1 medium onion, finely chopped
• 1 large stalk of celery, finely chopped
• 1 t chopped fresh thyme ( or ¼ t dried)
• 1 lb new potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 ½ in chunks
• ¾ c heavy cream
• dash of hot sauce (always Ring of Fire here at EoT)
• coarse salt and pepper

1. In a large skillet, bring clams and 1 cup water to a boil. Cover; cook until clams have opened, 3-5 min (discard any that don’t open). Transfer clams to a bowl. Strain liquid into a measuring cup; add water to yield 1 cup. Remove clam meat from shells; coarsely chop. (I instead opened the can, drained the liquid into a measuring cup, added water to create 1 cup of clam juice and proceeded to step 2.)
2. In a large saucepan, cook bacon over med-low heat until crisp 8-10 min. Pour off all but 1 T fat. Add onion and celery; cook until soft, about 5 min. Add thyme, potatoes, cooking liquid, and 1 more cup of water. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer until potatoes are tender, about 20 min.
3. Puree about 1 c mixture in a blender until smooth. Stir puree back into soup; add cream. Simmer over low heat until warm through, about 5 min. Add clams and hot sauce; season with salt