It was a greeting that one of my fellow waiters at my post-college/pre-real life seafood restaurant job has now been hearing for lo’ these many years. And he has NEVER been happy about hearing it.
See, that job was all about presentation and customer service which meant every dish, every cup and even every spoon was served by the waiter from a tray.
So when you had a 6-top—that’s waiter-speak for a table of six—who all ordered the house specialty clam chowder, we would load up a HUGE tray, hoist it high over our heads with the straightest arm we could possible muster and charge forth through the sea of waiting to be seated customers to serve our eagerly awaiting diners bowls of creamy, white chowder in heavy china bowls with plated liners.
One especially busy night—it must have been a big rush before an NBA basketball game—my friend had a big table and of course they all ordered chowder. He loaded up the tray, even stacking the bowls two high! It was a feat to behold for mere waiter mortals.
And then, he hit the double french door frame. Literally. Hit it, clipped the china bowls still hovering overhead.
And then like a dominoe-ing Humpty Dumpty, all the bowls came tumbling down. Clam Chowder, all over his head, his shirt, everywhere.
And ever since then, he has fondly been called Chowda-head.
Here is the very recipe, delicious in every respect, the best New England Clam Chowder outside of New England. Yep, I’m staking my claim.
- from the Utah Dining Car Cookbook, Ogden Junior League Cookbook
- 1 cup potatoes, diced ½ inch
- 1 cup celery, diced ½ inch
- 1 cup onion, diced ½ inch
- 1 cup green pepper, diced ½ inch
- 1 cup leeks, tops and bottoms, diced ½ inch
- ¾ cup chopped clams, canned or frozen
- ¾ tablespoon black pepper
- 1½ tablespoon salt
- ¾ tablespoon thyme
- 6 bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon Tabasco
- ¾ cup sherry wine
- ¾ cup ( 1½ sticks) butter, melted
- 2 cups water
- ¾ cup flour
- 2 quarts half and half
- 1. In a large saucepan, combine all ingredients except butter, flour and half and half. Simmer together until potatoes are thoroughly cooked.
- 2. Combine melted butter and flour in an ovenproof container and bake at 325 degrees for 30 minutes to eliminate the raw flour flavor and stabilize chowder.
- 3. Stir roux (butter flour mixture) into chowder and cook and stir until thick. Mixture will be slightly less thick tahn cookie dough. Remove chowder from heat. Stir in half and half until blended. Heat to serving temperature, stirring occasionally and serve immediately with crusty sourdough bread and extra Tabasco.
Chowder is a big part of curing my winter blues. And this year I’m so stoked to discover a plethora of food bloggers doing the same when I’ll be joining tons of soup loving food bloggers at the 2012 Soupapalooza, presented by Cheryl of Tidy Mom and Kristen of Dine and Dish. Now I need to get my soup chops scheming for a new recipe to share.
Until then, even if you aren’t a big fan of clams, you can still be a Chowda-head by trying one of these food bloggers recipes below. Soups on people!
photo > Carly Klock
Carly discovered a new sense of self thanks to fitness success after completing a rigorous bootcamp which in turn led us to discover Carly Klock’s thin–is–in lightened–up Lobster and Corn Chowder. Decadence minus the added lbs!
photo > Soup Chick
With a whisk of her immersion blender but not a single drop of cream, Lydia roasts up sweetly chunky, vegan and gluten-free creamy concoction in Soup Chick’s Roasted Sweet Potato and Corn Chowder.
photo > La Fuji Mama
In a big old pot of comfort with a base of kombu and shiitake to create a traditional dashi soup, La Fuji Mama tosses a bunch of delicious veggies into the pot to create what she calls her “guilt-free” Garden Vegetable Chowder.
photo > The Homesick Texan
Rich and lush thanks to a tomato base with a spicey kick—seems like most recipes from the Lonestar state embrace a unique twist—Homesick Texan’s Red Chile Seafood Chowder is rounded out by Lisa’s selection of a plethora of seafood with a salty lick of bacon.
photo > Three Many Cooks
Hidden behind the title of this healthily named recipe title lurks one of my favorite summertime eats: Hot dogs! Batched with healthy summer veggies, Three Many Cooks Summer Vegetable Chowder is an updated take on my beloved Campbell’s Bean With Bacon soup.
photo > Buns In My Oven
Not to be outdone in the pork category, Buns In My Oven tops her Corn and Chicken Chowder with the salty little nuggets creating a soup that even her husband concedes is hearty enough for the dinner bell.
photo > Healthy Delicious
We’re now taking an Italian inpired tour in the state of chowder with Healthy Delicious’ fire-roasted tomato based broth with fresh snappin’ clams recipe for Manhattan Clam Chowder. Break out the dippin’ bread.
More Foodie Crush recipes in a bowl
Pho Ga Vietnamese Chicken Noodle Soup
Roasted Butternut Squash and Turkey Chili
Sugar Pie Pumpkin Soup with Crispy Sage
Cajun Lobster Etouffee