East Hampton Clam Chowder

So this morning, considering that in central Connecticut we’ve been handed more snow, topped by an ice storm, I had a thought.  What if the groundhog can’t even get out of his hole? What if he’s snowed in like so many of us, and can’t see his shadow because he can’t leave the hole? Does that count, and will spring then come early?

Luckily for Punxsutawney Phil, it ended up not coming to that. News reporters were thrilled to announce this morning that the groundhog did not see his shadow.  Apparently, his “prediction” has only been right 39% of the time, but let’s hope this is part of that percentage.  Phil’s good buddy, Chuckles the groundhog who resides in Manchester, CT, also did not see his shadow this morning.  The odds are getting better and better for a quick end to this winter madness.

I will say, the winter snowstorms aren’t completely without benefit.  I do think the snow is pretty and makes for some really nice pictures.  I even enjoy being forced by mother nature to stay in, if there’s a good book around, or something I’ve been meaning to make, or if there’s nowhere I really need to go.  My favorite thing to do in the snow, other than be snowed in with good company and having pancakes for breakfast, is curl up with some hot soup and a good movie.

I made this chowder on one such occasion, and it didn’t disappoint.  I’m not sure what makes it East Hampton clam chowder, but when something’s this good, its heritage isn’t all that important. In fact, if I were a groundhog and I had a pot of this on my stove in my little groundhog hole, I might just disappoint my adoring public and not come out for Groundhog Day, snowed in or not.  For what it’s worth, Malverne Mel, who resides just at the other end of Long Island from East Hampton,  is another groundhog who predicted early spring.

East Hampton Clam Chowder

Ingredients:

  • 12 Tbs. unsalted butter, divided
  • 2 C. chopped yellow onions (2 onions)
  • 2 C. medium-diced celery (4 stalks)
  • 2 C. medium-diced carrots (6 carrots)
  • 4 C. peeled medium-diced boiling potatoes (8 potatoes) (I left the skins on)
  • 1 1/2 tsp. fresh minced thyme
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1 quart (4 cups) clam juice
  • 1/2 C. flour
  • 2 C. milk
  • 3 C. fresh chopped chowder clams (1 1/2 lb. shucked clams)

Directions:

Melt 4 Tbs. of the butter in a large, heavy-bottomed, stock pot.

Add the onions and cook over medium-low heat for 10 minutes, until translucent.

Add celery, carrots, potatoes, thyme, salt and pepper and saute for 10 minutes.

Add the clam juice and bring to a boil.  Simmer, uncovered, about 20 minutes, until the vegetables are tender.

In a small pot, melt the remaining 8 Tbs. of butter and whisk in the flour.  Cook over very low heat for 3 minutes, stirring constantly.

Whisk in a cup of hot broth and then pour the mixture into the cooked vegetables.

Simmer for a few minutes until the mixture thickens.

Add the milk and clams and heat gently for a few minutes to heat the clams.

Makes 8 servings

Source: Barefoot Contessa Family Style

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