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Tasty Morsels

Celery is unique added bonus to clam chowder

By: Susie Iventosch
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I recently attended a birthday party for a friend who lives in the Bay Area. We celebrated at a new restaurant in Lafayette, Yankee Pier, and the chef was kind enough to give me his clam chowder recipe. This version is an adaptation of his original recipe, adding a bit of wine, chicken broth, half & half and white pepper to his recipe. What I really enjoy about his chowder is the use of celery. It gives the soup a delightfully different flavor than any clam chowder I've tasted before. Though I haven't tried this, I'd bet that diced carrots would also make a tasty and colorful addition to the soup. n New England Clam Chowder (Serves 6 one-cup servings) 2 cups yellow or white onion, diced 2 cups celery, diced 2 cups new potatoes, diced into half-inch cubes 1 cup raw bacon, diced 1 stick butter ½ cup all-purpose flour 1 teaspoon fresh thyme, minced 1 teaspoon white pepper 1 ½ teaspoons sea salt 1 cup clam juice 2 cups chicken broth 1 cup milk 1 cup half & half (I use non-fat half & half) ¼ cup white wine, or dry sherry 1 teaspoon Tabasco 1 ½ cups canned, chopped clams, or (1 ½ pounds fresh, chopped clams) In a heavy pan, cook bacon over medium heat until crispy. Remove from pan and set aside. Drain the grease, and in same pan, cook potatoes with ½ cube of butter until potatoes can be pierced with a knife or fork. Add remaining butter, celery and onion and continue to cook until celery and onion just begin to soften. Add flour to vegetables in pan and stir well until flour is incorporated with veggies and butter. Meanwhile, in a separate pot, mix clam juice, chicken broth, milk, half & half and wine and heat, but don't boil. Add warm liquid mixture to veggies in four intervals, stirring to thicken between each addition. Add thyme, white pepper, salt, Tabasco, bacon and clams. Continue to cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, for another half hour. Serve piping hot with crusty French bread. Can freeze for reheating later. Susie Iventosch can be reached at suziven@hughes.net.