I have a confession to make: I’m from the Northeast and one side of my family is from MA, making me a “New England-ah.” My grandparents grew up talking to us about “paaakingg the caaaaa” and “eating our pizzerrr.” I digress. I grew up with fresh seafood brought from the coast of RI and my nanny would make grinders, clam cakes, fritters, lobstahh, and of course, chowdahhh.
While I’m no expert on the subject and any New Englander is welcome to disagree, I like my chowdah with a thick rue, part stock, part milk. I also add corn now as a way to sneak in more veggies for myself and whoever I’m feeding. You can always take it out.
Here’s what you’ll need:
Serves around 4 for a “meal” portion
Takes about an hour from prep to bowl
- 1 clove garlic
- 1/4 c. onion, chopped small
- olive oil and/or butter–you pick which and in what ratio
- 3 medium sized potatoes, peeled and cubed
- 4 T. of flour or perhaps closer to 1/4 c. depending on how thick you want your chowdah
- 2 cans minced or chopped clams (fresh is better, but I don’t live anywhere near water)
- extra clam juice if you’ve got it
- 2 c. chicken stock
- 2 c. milk-I used 2%, half and half is a good choice, anything goes
- 1 c. corn
- 1 bay leaf
- salt/pepper to taste
- Sirachi or other hot sauce if you like it warm
Ready? Here we go!
Brown onion and garlic in fat of choice-depending on how much rue and how thick you want it, add fat accordingly on medium to medium high heat. Once mixture is cooked down a bit, about 3-4 min., add more fat and then flour to make your rue. Let the rue cook for 1-2 min., depending on how dark you want it. You can always add more fat if you put in too much flour. Add potatoes to the pot and mix them in. The potatoes will also let off some nice starch as they cook down.
Add chicken stock, clam juice from cans of clams (and extra), bay leaf, and salt and pepper. Combine everything, working out any lumps from your rue. Turn heat down to a simmer and cover. Stir often and check on it. The rue and thick texture will make it want to stick. Watch it until potatoes are cooked through–about 10 minutes.
After you deem the potatoes cooked enough, give it a taste. Season to taste.
Add clams, corn, and milk. How much milk? I put 2 c. down, but if you want more, add it, if you like a thick chowdah, add less, thin; add more–you get the idea. If you add too much and it’s too thin for your taste, bring it back to a low boil and use a cornstarch slurry on it.
Simmer everything together for about 10 min. so everything will get married up. Add hot sauce at the end to taste. Omit if it’s not your thing.
Enjoy a taste of my childhood!
P.S. I may or may not have added some heavy cream right at the end….it just adds a delightful creaminess….and it makes it no longer “lower calorie” but it’s so good….sorry cream, with you, i have no will power….