New England Clam And Seafood Chowder With Handmade Oyster Crackers

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BY: Laurie
MARKET: Providence
CHALLENGING: New England Clam Chowder

RECIPE INFO
Servings: 10
Prep Time: 30
Cook Time: 1 hour

INGREDIENTS

  • Soup:
  • Salt Pork, finely diced (6 ounces)
  • Water (1 cup plus more for boiling potatoes)
  • Steamer Clams (3 pounds)
  • Skin on Potatoes, diced (3 pounds)
  • Sweet Onion, diced (2 cups)
  • Salted Butter (1/4 cup)
  • All Purpose Flour (3/4 cup)
  • Clam Broth (8 cups)
  • Sea Scallops, cleaned and cut into bite-size pieces (1 pound)
  • Large Shrimp, peeled and deveined (1 pound)
  • Cod Fillet, cut into bite-size pieces (1 pound)
  • Chopped Sea Clams, in liquid (1 pound)
  • Whole Milk (6 cups)
  • Evaporated Milk (1-12 ounce can)
  • Cooked Lobster Meat, cut into bite-size pieces (1 pound)
  • Salt, to taste (1-2 teaspoons )
  • White Pepper (3/4 teaspoon)
  • Homemade Oyster Crackers:
  • Yeast (2 1/4 teaspoon)
  • Water, lukewarm (1/2 cup)
  • Sugar (1/2 teaspoon)
  • All Purpose Flour (3 1/4 cup)
  • Salt (1 teaspoon plus more for sprinkling if desired)
  • Cold Butter, cut into cubes (1/2 cup)
  • Milk (2 tablespoons)

INSTRUCTIONS
Soup:

In a heavy bottomed large pot or Dutch oven, render salt pork over medium low heat. Remove crispy bits with a slotted spoon, allowing drippings to remain in the pan. Add diced onions and butter and cook until onions are tender, stirring occasionally. When onions are cooked, stir in flour to make a roux. Cook and stir until flour turns light brown.

Boil potatoes in another pot until fork tender. Drain and set aside.

In the meantime add one cup water to another large pan and steam clams, covered, until open over medium high heat. When cool enough to touch, shuck the clams, clean and rinse in the water they were steamed in. Set clams aside and strain broth through cheesecloth to filter out and grit and rinse the pan if necessary.

Add clam broth to filtered clam steaming water and bring to a simmer. Add the scallops to the simmering broth and cook until just firm. Remove from broth with a slotted spoon and set aside. Repeat procedure with shrimp and cod and set aside. Slowly whisk in hot cooking liquid into the roux and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and whisk in chopped clams and their liquid.

Stir in milk and evaporated milk and cooked lobster meat. Add the cooked potatoes, steamers, shrimp, scallops and fish to the pan and slowly heat to serving temperature. Season to taste with salt and stir in the white pepper. If desired, finely chop cooked pieces of reserved salt pork and sprinkle it over individual servings of the chowder.

Serve topped with handmade oyster crackers and enjoy!

Homemade Oyster Crackers:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cover two baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.

In a small bowl, combine yeast, water and sugar. Stir to combine and set aside until mixture is frothy and yeast is activated.

In the bowl of a food processor, combine flour and salt. Process for one minute to mix and aerate. Add butter and pulse until small crumbs form. With processor running, pour yeast mixture through feed tube. Process until a soft dough forms.

Turn dough out onto a floured surface and knead in a little addition flour if dough is sticky. Roll out the dough as thin as possible into a rectangle. Fold in the long sides of the dough to the center and repeat with the ends to form a smaller rectangle. Roll out thin again and repeat this procedure two more times. Roll out one final time to a 9” x 11” rectangle.

Brush top of dough very lightly with milk and sprinkle very lightly with additional salt if desired. With a pastry cutter, cookie cutter or knife, cut crackers in to ½” – 1” squares or shapes as desired. Place crackers on prepared baking sheets. Bake for 12-15 minutes until lightly browned. Slide parchment off of baking sheet and allow to cool. Serve with seafood chowder. These can be made days ahead if necessary as they keep well stored at room temperature in an airtight container.

RECIPE STORY
I remember the taste of my Grandmother’s chowder like it was yesterday even though she has been gone for decades. My Mimi made the most wonderful clam chowder with freshly dug Essex steamers, salt pork, local potatoes and a light milky broth that she enhanced with evaporated milk. That is the chowder of my childhood.

I recreated that taste in this chowder but added all of the seafood I could get my hands on. The secret to creating a rich broth without using heavy cream is to use the liquid from the steamed clams to poach the seafood which concentrates the flavor and then thicken with a roux made of the salt pork drippings.

This recipe makes a lot of chowder and on this snowy day I am looking forward to sharing it with my friends when I can dig out in the morning!

Posted January 13th, 2011

1384 Votes
1st place in Providence

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