Clam chowder is any of several chowders containing clams and broth. Along with the clams, diced potato is common, as are onions, which are occasionally sauteed in the drippings from salt pork or bacon. Celery is frequently used. Other vegetables are uncommon, but small carrot strips might occasionally be added, primarily for color. A garnish of parsley serves the same purpose. Bay leaves are also sometimes used as a garnish and flavoring. It is believed that clams were added to chowder because of their relative ease to collect.
Clam chowder is often served in restaurants on Fridays in order to provide a seafood option for those who abstain from meat every Friday, which used to be a requirement for Catholics before liturgical changes in Vatican II. Though the period of strict abstinence from meat on Fridays was reduced to Lent, the year-round tradition of serving clam chowder on Fridays remains.
New England clam chowder
Traditional New England clam chowder is thickened with oyster crackers, instead of flour.
New England clam chowder is a milk- or cream-based chowder, commonly made with potatoes, onion, and clams. Including tomatoes is shunned; a 1939 bill making tomatoes in clam chowder illegal was introduced in the Maine legislature. It is occasionally referred to as Boston Clam Chowder in the Midwest.
New England clam chowder is usually accompanied with oyster crackers (similar to hardtack). Crown Pilot Crackers were a popular brand of cracker to accompany chowder, until the product was discontinued in 2008. Crackers may be crushed and mixed into the soup for thickener, or used as a garnish.
Other clam chowder variations
Some restaurants also serve their own unique clam chowders that do not fall into any of these five types. Clam chowder is usually served with saltine crackers or small, hexagonal oyster crackers. Throughout the United States, creamy New England-style clam chowder is sometimes served in sourdough bread bowls, especially in San Francisco where sourdough is popular with tourists and has been considered a signature dish since 1849. In Seattle and Portland Smoked Salmon is often added to New England Style Chowder instead of smoked pork.
Fish chowder is a similar to clam chowder except that shredded fish, often cod, is substituted for the clams. It is made with cream, fish, and often onions and/or corn. Chowder can be made with both clams and fish then it is both clam and fish chowder.
Except for the substitution of smoked haddock for clams, the chowders are remarkably similar to the traditional Scots broth Cullen Skink.
Long Island Clam Chowder is a variant that is part New England style and part Manhattan style, making it a creamy tomato clam chowder. The name is a geographical pun, noting that the location of Long Island, just like the recipe is about halfway between Manhattan and New England. This variant is popular in many small restaurants across Suffolk County.
Chowder has become a very popular menu item over the past three decades in Irish pubs.
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Clam chowder, en.wikipedia.org
Clam Chowder, www.foodnetwork.com
Clam Chowder, New England Style, www.cookingforengineers.com