Thursday, October 14, 2010

Clam Chowder, The Black Pearl Style

Last summer Boyfriend and I went to a wedding in Newport, Rhode Island.  I hadn't ever been there before and let me tell you... it was AMAZING.  The mansions.  The ocean.  The Black Pearl's World Famous Clam Chowder.

Now, there was a lot of hype leading up to this bowl of chowder.  A. LOT.  I was prepared to be disappointed actually.  Don't get me wrong, I love clam chowder.  Every time people come to visit I make sure they get 2 things - clam chowder and a lobster roll.  Its New England for god's sake!

However, I have to admit....

It was shut-your-mouth-smack-your-mama-I-refuse-to-share GOOD.  I had not, and since have not, had chowder this good ever.  It's not super-thick they way I normally see it here and it had lots of dill and a hint of booze... maybe sherry?  I wish I could have brought some home with me.  I should have.  Although... I'm not 100% convinced it would have made the 2 hour trip back safely.  I mean, hell, we still had a wedding to go to and there was no way that chowder would have survived our state of debauchery.  4am drunk and hungry?  No. Way.

I've never actually made clam chowder before so I figure hey, why not tackle the most amazing, unreproducible chowder ever?  Why not?


1/4 stick of butter
4 slices of bacon, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
4 medium potatoes, peeled and diced into smallish cubes
2 cans of minced clams, with juice
2 cup light cream
2 cups milk (I used 1%)
2 shot glasses dry vermouth
2 tsp dried parsley
1 tbsp cracked black pepper
2 tbsps dried dill weed, or more to taste

Cook the bacon until nice and crispy.  Add the butter and chopped onions to the bacon/grease and saute until the onion is starting to soften. Add the parsley, dill, clam juice, and potatoes, and just enough water to cover all ingredients. Simmer 15-20 minutes until potatoes are cooked but not mushy.  Add the cream, milk and vermouth. Heat just a little more so the cream does not cool it. Add the minced clams when you're almost ready to serve it to make sure they don't get too tough.  Taste.  Season. Taste again.  *Note: if you like your chowder a little thicker you can either make a roux using flour and butter or mix a little cornstarch with water and add that to your chowder before adding the clams and let it thicken your chowder.

I had this for lunch the next day and I have to say, it re-heated very very well.  Boyfriend liked it but said he would have added more dill and less potatoes.  Also that there wasn't any bacon in the original Black Pearl chowder.  Whatever.  I thought it was f-ing delicious and my favorite chowder recipe so far.  I might toy with it in the future... add fresh clams instead of canned, etc etc.... but I think this is the only style of chowder I plan to make for a long, long time.

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