Thursday, November 18, 2010

Chowder, please!

For those of you who just tuned in for the week, the Buzz Girls are talking about their favorite soups to make as the weather turns colder and the skies get a little gray.

So you may be asking yourself, what does soup have to do with writing and reading YA fiction?

1) A girl's gotta eat.
2) Soup is easy to make and so much better homemade!
3) It's fun to let a pot of soup simmer while you're finishing a chapter or two, and then your dinner's ready when you are.

So, my family loves chowder. Out here in the Northwest, we make all sorts - from the traditional clam to salmon or halibut. Here's a really basic recipe inspired by my dad's famous clam chowder recipe. You can add shrimp, crab, halibut, lobster, mussels, or anything else to make it a fantastic Christmas Eve dinner, like my family does each year.

Dad’s Clam Chowder

2 slices bacon or turkey bacon diced (optional)
1 T. olive oil
1 T. butter
½ medium yellow or white onion, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
2 T. flour
1 can clams + their juice
About 2 c. stock or water
3 large potatoes, diced (you can leave peels on if you like it more rustic.)
½ t. dried thyme
½ C. half & half or milk
Salt and pepper to taste
¼ C. parsley, chopped
1 T. butter (optional)

Optional - brown bacon (or turkey bacon + a little olive oil) over medium heat until all fat is rendered. Remove the bacon bits from the pan and set aside. Add olive oil and butter to pan, sauté the onions until translucent, then add the celery and garlic to cook until almost done. Add flour to pan and cook until flour is absorbed and a little golden.

Drain clam juice and add to pan, setting aside clams. Add potatoes and thyme to the pot, along with enough stock or water to nearly cover. Lower heat and cook until the potatoes are almost done. Add the half & half and the clams to the pot and cook until everything is heated through and potatoes are tender*. Salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with chopped parsley and the pat of butter.

*Note that this makes a thinner style soup, so if you’d like to thicken, you can make a “slurry” by mixing in a cup 2 T. milk to 1 T. cornstarch or flour, add it to the soup, and cook the soup until thickened. You can also thicken it by adding a few tablespoons of mashed potato flakes, like my dad does sometimes.

**Also, you can easily forget the seafood and/or bacon altogether and make it a veggie-potato soup. You can even probably make it vegan - Tera knows about that kind of stuff...

Enjoy and stay warm ~

The Clearing - Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Never Cry Werewolf - HarperTeen
Wherever You go - Harcourt Fall 2011


stephhale said...

That sounds delicious, Heather. Thanks for sharing!

TinaFerraro said...

Wow, Heather, love the sound of this!

Marley Gibson said...

I am a total chowder snob, but this looks FANTASTIC! Can't wait to try it. = )