Fresh Pea Clam Chowder

I love oyster crackers.  Maybe it’s the salt.

Despite days of unpacking (still) and rearranging (forever) and gardening, we’ve still had a few cool evenings and one such night last week, I made, for the first time, one of Dave’s favorite soups.  Now we’ve been married thirty-seven years and why I haven’t made this soup before, I don’t know.  If you’re from the midwest, fish or seafood soups weren’t terribly much part of the cooking pattern when I grew up.  Fish?  Yes.  Fresh out of the thousands of lakes and in the summer. (Though my parents froze quite a bit for great winter fish fries.)  But not fish soup.  Seafood?  A rarity.  You ate it when you went south.  Or east.  Or west.

Now that we have great fish and seafood available all of the time (especially in St. Paul, I’d add), we have such great options for seafood dishes and I’m finally able to set aside my considerable food prejudices and make clam chowder.  I did look at a few recipes and then did it my way.  Naturally you can use fresh clams; I happened to have a couple of cans of clams in the pantry and used those.  In fact, with the exception of the fresh peas (and you can use frozen), this dinner is pretty much out of everyday pantry ingredients.  Note:  This is a regular old unthickened chowder.

This photo of my fresh peas from Trader Joe’s just wants to be like this.  I give up.   You get the idea!

Fresh Pea Clam Chowder serves 4

4 pieces of bacon
1 large onion, diced
2 stalks of celery, diced
1 carrot, diced
1/2 t sea salt; 1/2 t white pepper
1 cup chopped fingerling or new potatoes
1 bottle of clam juice
1/4 c fresh peas (or frozen)
1-2 drops of hot sauce (put bottle on table)
2 cans drained clams
2 cups milk
3/4 c half and half
1T butter
1/4 c chopped parsley
Oyster (or other) crackers

In a 4 qt stock pot, cook bacon until well-browned and remove to toweling.  Chop the bacon and reserve.  Saute onion, celery and carrot in the bacon fat until softenedSeason well with salt and pepper.  Add chopped potatoes and clam juiceAdd enough water to cover all of the vegetables and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer until potatoes are tender, about 10-15 minutes.  Add peas the last couple of minutes.  Season with hot sauce.  Add milk and half and half.  Stir in drained clams and butter and heat through.  Add fresh parsley and stir in bacon.  Taste and adjust seasonings.  Serve hot with oyster crackers or saltines and let folks add hot sauce as desired.


Two-Dog Kitchen and Around the ‘Hood

Today, I’m testing a hot, long-simmered soup and it’s 90 degrees.   No central air.   Gotta love working ahead for magazines.  It’s like planning for church choirs; you’re always doing it out of season.

This week in Dinner Place (you can get there through the link at right) there’s a step-by-step pie crust and rhubarb pie right out of the farmer’s market.  Try it! 

Starting the herb garden amongst the Russian Sage and dying Tulips.

Out of the gorgeous driveway garden

Young peony bush

A bridal wreath that I haven’t had before.  It’s taken over a walkway.

Don’t bother me.

 Sing a new song,