Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Manhattan Clam Chowder

The first time I ate clam chowder I had the misfortune of getting some dirt in my bowl. It was from the cafeteria at work, and I was already leery of that food. Then it happened again - and again - and again. EVERY time I somehow ended up with a little bit of dirt in my bowl. Granted, I grew up in a home where we ate red meat, so I wasn't used to a lot of meaty flavors or textures. In fact, the first time I cooked chicken (in middle school) I completely freaked out when it started to turn white. Luckily, Kristin's boyfriend was there to tell us it was just starting to cook. *WHEW* That was a disaster barely averted.

Anyway, back to the clam chowder. In 1939 the good people of Maine were so upset when they heard of a tomato based clam chowder that they proposed a bill to outlaw tomatoes in clam chowder. When I heard that, the rebel in me perked up her ears, and here we are - making Manhattan Clam Chowder. It is my first time eating the Manhattan version, so I am not sure how it compares to other recipes, but this one is pretty darn good. It comes from Dr. Mirkin's website. . .

This is really more like clam stew. It doesn't sound as good as the word "chowder" but when I hear "chowder" I think of a thick, creamy soup. This is beef stew where all the beef has been usurped by clams.

Don't they look funny in the can? I had one can of chopped and one can of minced and upon close inspection, I can't tell the difference. If you don't like the grainy texture of clams, give them a few taste tests. They grow on you until you feel sad when you don't get a grainy bite.

Manhattan Clam Chowder

3 C chicken or fish bouillon
2 carrots, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 C potato, chopped
2 cans of stewed tomatoes
1 t oregano
pinch cayenne
1/2 C barley, cooked
2 cans green beans
2 cans chopped clams and their juice

Combine the bouillon, carrots, celery, potato, tomatoes, oregano, cayenne and barley and simmer until the vegetables are tender. Add the green beans and the clams with their juice and heat about 5 minutes until warm. Revel in the knowledge that you are a wild, crazy rebel as you savor each bite. Then hope you get to travel to Maine someday to eat the blueberries. Make a mental note to not mention MANHATTAN clam chowder when you are there.

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