Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Soup's On!

Whenever there is a meal ready in our house, my husband will go to the kids' rooms and announce, "Soup's On!"  Even if it's breakfast.  Inevitably, one of them will ask, "we're having soup for breakfast?"  Ha ha.  

Even though my Weatherbug app on my phone is acting a little crazy today and saying that the temperature is 113 today and it feels like 150 (it's really only about 88 degrees), we actually had a few chilly days recently out here in the Dustbowl of West Texas.  We had rain, and I even had to get out the long pajama pants.  So we decided we better make Clam Chowder.  It was thick and creamy.  It had good clam flavor since I used fresh clams.  It was also pretty easy and didn't take too long.  We served it with my Seasoned Oyster Crackers and some fresh homemade sourdough bread.  We all even kept trying to say "Clam Chowda" with a New England accent, which is pretty hysterical since we have Texan accents.  But it was a good meal for a chilly night.  

Now, the fresh clams can be a little pricey depending on where you live.  If you must use canned clams, I'd guess that you'll need about 2 cups of them.  I hope you enjoy this one!

4 dozen clams (or about 2 C canned clams)
2 good-sized potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 onion, chopped
4 slices bacon, chopped
Salt & pepper, to taste
One 8-ounce bottle clam juice
2 stalks celery, chopped
4 C water
2 T butter
1/2 C white wine
2 C chicken stock
1 C frozen corn kernels (not traditional, but why not!)
3 T flour
One quart heavy cream

30 minutes prior to beginning to cook, fill your sink up with cold water to soak the clams (this gets them to purge any sand they have ingested).  If the clams are open, tap them gently on the counter to see if they close (give it about 30 seconds or so).  If they don't close, discard them.  This means they are bad.  Soak them in the sink for 30 minutes.

After the 30 minutes, put the 4 C water and half of the clam juice into a pot.  Add in the clams and bring to a boil.  Boil for about 8-10 minutes or until they are all opened.  Drain. Discard any clams that didn't open.  That means they are bad.  When they are cool enough to handle, pull the clams out of the shells and chop.  Set aside.

Melt the butter into a dutch oven or large pot.  Cook the bacon until it's almost crispy.  Add in the wine and deglaze the pan. Add in the onions, celery, and potatoes.  Cook for a couple of minutes and then cover.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until the potatoes are tender.  Remove the lid and sprinkle the flour over the veggies.  Stir in the chicken stock, the cream, the corn, the remaining clam juice, salt and pepper to taste, and the clams.  Bring it to a boil and reduce the heat.  Continue cooking about 10 minutes and until it's thickened.   Serve with Seasoned Oyster Crackers (recipe to follow).

1/2 C butter, melted
One 10-ounce package oyster crackers
1 T garlic powder
1 T dried parsley
1 T onion powder
1 T mixed dried herbs
Salt, to taste

Preheat the oven to 250 degrees.  Mix the butter and herbs together.  Pour them over the crackers and toss to coat. Bake them 15-20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes, until they are dry.