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Rain was in the forecast here in soCal, and I had a hankering for some good, old-fashioned clam chowder. And not just any clam chowder, Sheri’s clam chowder. My friend, Sheri, is the best cook/baker/chef there ever was! Everything she made was like manna from heaven.
Sheri made the best EVERYTHING: bread, cookies, candy, soup. Anything and everything she touched became a deliciously, delectable creation! Plus she spent less on it, because she knew what was truly important: butter, fresh ingredients, butter, time, butter, patience, and butter! Sheri taught me how to make awesome food on a budget and have it taste like you spent a million bucks! And a little butter didn’t hurt either.
She was kind enough to share her New England Clam Chowder recipe with me a few years ago. I tweaked it a bit for personal taste (salt, sugar, amount of flour in the roux, and added extra potatoes), but it’s pretty close to her original recipe. And the best part is that the soup only takes about 10 minutes of prep time and 30 minutes to cook for a total of about 40 minutes from refrigerator to table!
Now, don’t let the word roux scare you. A roux is simply a fat (in this case butter) mixed with flour cooked on the stove to get rid of the “raw flour” taste. It’s used to thicken a myriad of things, and it can be used as the base for tons of sauces, including cheese sauce. I include step-by-step instructions not only for the soup, but also for making the roux, so you can do this at home. And it’s super easy. I promise!
Let’s begin with the recipe:
New England Clam Chowder (a.k.a. Boston Clam Chowder)
1 8-oz. stick of salted butter
Wash your veggies well. Peel potatoes, if desired. Dice potatoes, onions, and celery. You can leave the potatoes a little larger if you prefer. Put the vegetables into a saucepan. Drain the liquid from the canned clams over the vegetables. Add water so vegetables are covered in liquid. Cover and simmer over medium heat until potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes.
While the vegetables are cooking, about 5 minutes before they are done, melt butter in another saucepan. Add flour to the pan, and stir to blend (forming a roux). Cook 1 to 2 minutes, then add the half & half. Stir until smooth and thick. (I like to use a whisk.) Add the undrained vegetables and the clams. Heat through, and season with salt, pepper and sugar, to taste. Serve!
Sounds easy, doesn’t it? Well it is! Just watch!
Now, all I need is a loaf of crusty bread, and I’m set! What do you think about that? Roux isn’t so scary, now, is it?