Manhattan Clam Chowder

Manhattan Clam Chowder

Chopped clams in a ramekin
Today I made my first clam soup from The Soup Book. The spouse called into his favourite fish shop to see if the clams had made their appearance and obviously they had, otherwise I wouldn't be blogging today. The recipe specifies thirty-six live clams among its ingredients, so the spouse bought forty-five, just in case any of them died before we were ready to kill them. The first step in the recipe is to discard any open clams before shucking them. We didn't know what shucking was, so the spouse looked it up on the internet. Once he had finished shucking, I asked him to chop the clams. Shucked and chopped, the clams barely filled a ramekin. We wondered if Transatlantic clams would be bigger. We also reserved the juice from the clams, as instructed, and topped it up with water to make 600ml.

Manhattan clam chowder with bacon and thyme
The other ingredients for this clam chowder include streaky bacon, onion, floury potatoes, flour, canned tomatoes and seasoning. I followed the instructions, frying the bacon, removing it before frying the onion and potato, adding the flour, then stirring in the tomatoes. I looked in vain for the instructions regarding the reserved clam juice with water, so decided to pour it in with the tomatoes. This mixture is simmered until the potatoes are tender, then the clams are added. When cooked, the soup is served with the diced bacon and fresh thyme.

We sat, we ate, we were not impressed. The canned tomatoes overpowered any other flavours. The spouse was disappointed after his half hour of shucking. The introduction to the recipe does point out that tomato is the "defining feature" of the clam chowder, but also refers to green peppers and celery as possible ingredients. Maybe next time.

Bee is for Book

One of the books I got for Christmas is Jeremy Paxman's The Victorians: Britain through the Paintings of the Age. I had watched the television series The Victorians and really enjoyed it. Among the many illustrations in the book is George Cruikshank's The British Bee Hive.  I was delighted to find a reason to mention this book in my blog!

Now I'd better get on with my studies.



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