Finally! Some Chowdah!
Boston brags about making the best Clam Chowdah period (like Maryland and their Crab Cakes) and there are always tons of tasting events, festivals, cook-offs etc. to enforce and confirm this. So…being a Bostonian, I wanted to try my hand at this local dish because even if mine isn’t top-notch, it’ll still make a DAMN fine winter soup 🙂
Having said that, I have to admit…I was a combination of nervous and excited making this – which is strange because I’m normally really pumped at the chance to create something new for the first time.
Maybe because this was my first attempt at this great staple and I was already manipulating it [by substituting Lactose items with Coconut derivatives] . Or maybe it was because my camera was acting wonky and I was afraid it would give a poor interpretation of said fine staple.
Not sure and don’t care because it came out INCREDIBLE!
Coconut Clam Chowder
What I Used:
4 Small Potatoes/2 medium Potatoes [Peeled]. 1 stick Celery. Bacon. 1/2 Yellow Onion. Flour. Thick Coconut Cream [14oz or 1 can]. Coconut Milk [28oz or 2 cans]. 1 Lime. Chopped Clams [Canned or Frozen]. Fresh Clams [at least a dozen]. White Wine. Salt. Pepper. Crushed Red Pepper. Small handful of Fresh Basil [garnish].
What I Did:
Let me preface by saying I didn’t have Oyster Crackers when I made this, nor did I make any but interestingly enough, Oyster Crackers are often used as the thickening agent. Next time, I’ll try using crushed Oyster Crackers in place of Flour.
Ok, so I began by dicing the Celery & Onion and chopping the Basil, Potatoes and 3 strips of Bacon, adding the Bacon in a dry medium soup pot.
When the Bacon was just starting to curl, I added the Onion and Celery to saute in the bacon grease for roughly 2 mins.
Next I added 1/2 cup of White Wine and let it simmer until the liquid was reduced by half. At that point, I sprinkled in 1/4 cup Flour, stirring constantly until the liquid became thickened.
Note: Don’t worry if the flour has absorbed all the liquid before you can empty the entire 1/4 cup. Just keep stirring as you tip the rest of it in. It’ll look something like this.
Next, I poured in the canned clams [and their juices] and the coconut milk. I let this cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture started to boil. Then I let it simmer, uncovered, for 15 mins while I cleaned up.
Note: I like my Clam Chowder with the emphasis on Clam, so I poured in two 16 oz cans of chopped clams, but don’t feel obligated to do this if you don’t want to.
After 15 mins, I added the chopped Potatoes, a can of Heavy Coconut Cream, 1 tbsp of Crushed Red Pepper, Salt & Pepper [to taste] gently mixing it all together. Then I let it cook under a medium flame for 15 more mins.
Note: Open the lid and give it a good stir every 5 mins. If it’s too ‘liquidy’ for your preference, feel free to shake in more Flour to thicken it.
Finally, I squeezed in half a lime and added the Fresh Clams, making sure to immerse the Clams in the bisque before letting them cook, covered for about 5 mins. This should be enough time for the Clams to open but visually confirm that the clams have opened before turning off the flame.
Note: Any clams that remain unopened are no good. They didn’t open because the clam was dead before it was cooked, just toss them out.
Taste for seasoning, shake in more Salt & Pepper as needed. Garnish with the chopped Basil Leaves.
Side Note: This tastes just as good the next day. Makes great leftovers
What do you think?
Share if you care!