Monday, December 3, 2012

Comfort Food: Clam Chowder

In conjunction with Penn Appétit's comfort-food themed Fall 2012 magazine, we are featuring a few of our blogger's favorite comfort foods, along with their cherished recipes.

Today's featured recipe is:
Port Townsend Clam Chowder

Everyone knows that clam chowder is considered a quintessential New England food. However, like most Northwesterners, clam chowder played a large part in my childhood too. The begginings of clam chowder in the Pacific Northwest can be traced to the sucessful Seattle seafood-joint Ivar's Chowder House, opened in 1946 by folk singer Ivar Haglund. The restraunt was so sucessful, in fact, that Haglund's song "Acres of Clams" is now Washington's unofficial state song. Now Ivar's clam chowder is sold everywhere- you can buy a bowl while watching a Mariner baseball game or while riding a ferry boat across the Puget Sound.

As delicious as Ivar's clam chowder is, I'm partial to my grandma's recipe that has been passed down to me. In the 1960s my grandma would make her chowder from clams that my grandpa, mom and aunts had freshly dug from Marrowstone Island, across the water from their home of Port Townsend, WA. Nowadays, however, my family prepares it with canned clams that you can find at any grocery store.

-Elliott Brooks

The Recipe


3 Tbsp butter
2 yellow onions
1/2 lb. bacon pieces,chopped
1 large potato, cubed
1 cup chopped clams
1 pint (2 C) heavy cream or half-and-half or milk
Clam nectar (steaming juice) or commercially bottled clam juice or potato cooking water or milk as needed
Salt and pepper to taste


Brown bacon pieces and reserve.
Drain all but 1 T bacon fat from skillet add butter and saute onions slowly till golden and well cooked.
In saucepan place potatoes and cover with cold water.
Bring to boil and slow boil 20 minutes or until soft.
Add potato to onions, add bacon, clams and cream.
Dilute to taste with clam nectar.
Heat but do NOT boil.
Season to taste.

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