Do you associate certain food with places you’ve been to? I do. I remember what I ate on trips I took years ago. I’m not quite as good at this as my dad is, but someday I aspire to be.
I remember that we ate powdered sugar donuts and milk after visiting the Sault Sainte Marie locks in 1999.
I remember that our first meal in Costa Rica was chicken soup from a packet, and orange Zuko, also from a packet.
I remember eating crepes and drinking a lemonade with grenadine outside of St. Pierre Cathedral in Geneva on my senior trip with Mom and Dad.
Food is memories. The more memorable or special the trip, the more I remember what we ate. I think I could recount–in order, even–every morsel I ate on our honeymoon in Boston.
I had real New England clam chowder at The Oyster House a few blocks from Paul Revere’s house. Memories.
Over Christmas, I mulled over the memories while I made clam chowder for my family. I think it turned out pretty well. If you live in New England, I trust you’ll make this with fresh clams. If you don’t, make it with canned clams (like I did) and dream of your next memorable trip to Boston (as I do).
- 3 Tbsp butter
- 1 yellow onion, chopped
- 4 large potatoes, scrubbed and chopped
- 8 cups chicken stock
- 2 tsp herbs of choice (parsley, oregano, or thyme are good)
- 3 10-oz cans of clams
- 1 8-oz bottle of clam juice
- 1 1/2 cup whole milk
- 1/2 cup heavy cream or half-and-half
- 1/3 cup frozen corn
- salt and freshly-ground pepper, to taste
- 8 slices cooked bacon (optional)
- Melt the butter in a large pot on the stove over medium heat. Add the onions and saute for 5 minutes.
- Add potatoes, stock, and herbs to the pot. Turn up the heat until the liquid nearly boils, then turn down to a lively simmer. Cover and let simmer until the potatoes are soft, about 20-25 minutes.
- If you plan to serve the soup with bacon, cook the bacon now while the potatoes soften.
- When the potatoes are soft, add clams (with their liquid), clam juice, milk, cream, and corn. Heat through.
- Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve with crumbled bacon, if desired.
For a thicker soup: After Step 4, dip out 1 cup of soup liquid and mix with 2 Tbsp flour in a small bowl. Stir flour mixture back into soup. Turn up heat and let soup bubble for a few minutes until it begins to thicken.
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