Hi, everyone. I finally found the old recipe for clam chowder that we used to make all the time, as promised in the back of The Honeymoon Cottage. This recipe is from a neighbor, Barbara Brown, who passed away many years ago. Every time I make it, it reminds me of her. This is not nearly as artery-clogging as “Mel’s,” which is based on the chowder from the Chowder Bowl in Nye Beach, Oregon (best clam chowder we’ve ever had). Their chowder is made with fresh clams, a very thick, creamy base, and really does come with a pat of butter melting on top. So good! If you ever stop by the central coast of Oregon, give them a try (and pick up a “chowderhead” tee shirt while you’re there!).
But here’s the much less rich, very easy recipe for a homemade chowder:
Fry 4 strips of bacon until crisp in a large heavy soup pot (a “dutch oven” it says on the recipe card). Remove the bacon and then brown one finely chopped sweet onion (Vidalia or WallaWalla) in the bacon grease. Then add six or seven finely chopped potatoes (Idaho potatoes are nice and starchy for this), add water to cover potatoes, salt and pepper to taste (I always hate those recipes that say “to taste”–are you going to taste raw potatoes and see if they’re salty enough? Just add a bit at this point and then add more at the end if you need to). Dump in one can of clams (yup, it says “dump”–very fancy recipe!). Crumble bacon over top. Cook for 15 minutes. Mash with a potato masher. Add one cup of milk (or cream if you’re feeling indulgent) just before serving (don’t boil the milk; just heat gently).
That’s it. It’s very easy. While not quite like chowder made with freshly caught clams and whole cream, it sure tastes good on a foggy evening. Serve with San Francisco sourdough if you’ve got it (cornbread tastes good with it, too–I’ll put up my bread machine yeast cornbread recipe soon).