In the winter time, it can get pretty frigid here.
It's days like that, when it hurts to go outside, that a good stick to your ribs soup like Clam Chowder feels so good. It's thick, creamy, sinks warmth into your bones and fills you up fast.
My family doesn't even have to see the cans of clams coming home in my grocery sacks to know we're having Clam Chowder. Even the combo of celery and half & half gives it away, and they get excited.
To top off our chowder we usually add saltine crackers or some kind of bread. For today, I made homemade croutons to go with. The croutons are my own recipe and the soup recipe...well, I actually don't know the original author of the recipe. I've adapted it from a recipe we received when we were newlyweds.
So I guess I'll name it...
Cold Day Clam Chowder
1 cup frozen corn
1 cup chopped celery
4 c. diced red potatoes (with the skin still intact)
1 large red onion diced
3 cups water
4 cans of clams
1 1/2 c. butter
1 1/2 c. flour
2 quarts half and half (you can substitute one quart with milk, but I don't)
2-3 TBSP. red wine vinegar, plus more for the table if desired
salt and pepper to taste
1. Chop and dice all of your vegetables as evenly as possible. (If you hold a piece of bread in your mouth while you dice onions, it staves off the water works. Kristin taught me that on instagram and it totally works!) Put them in a pot and add water. Squeeze the juice from three of the cans of clams into the pot and bring it to a simmer. Reserve the clams and the fourth can of clams and juice for later. Cook until the potatoes are done.
Add all of the half and half and whisk until all incorporated.
Cook it down on medium heat, stirring often so the bottom doesn't burn, until the mixture is nice and thick (about 7-9 minutes?)
3. Add your cooked vegetable mix to the creamy mixture. Add your clams and the remaining can of clams and juice. Cook on medium heat until heated throughout, then turn on low. Add vinegar and salt and pepper to taste.
4. Reserve more vinegar and salt and pepper for the table. My oldest son and I probably end up adding another tablespoon of vinegar to our bowls cause that's how we like it. ;)
Serves: about 10-12
When reheating leftovers, you may need to add 1/2 cup or more of water to loosen up the soup.
And now for arguably my favorite part:
about 12 slices of bread (stale bread works great and using two kinds is even better)
1/4 c. melted butter
1/8 cup olive oil
2-3 cloves of garlic pressed
2 TBSP. dry parsley (you can also add more herbs as desired)
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Evenly cube the bread.
3. Mix the butter, olive oil, and garlic together.
4. Toss the mixture with the cubed bread. Add the dried parsley.
5. Spread it out on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for about 12 minutes or until it reaches a nice golden brown, stirring once in the middle of the baking time.
Sprinkle on a teaspoon of kosher salt while it's still warm if desired.
Then top it on your favorite soup.
For the printable versions of these recipes go here.
Stay toasty and warm this weekend.
Thank you for reading!