Having grown up in Maine, I often crave a creamy bowl of chowder. We Mainers have entire festivals devoted to finding the best recipe. Some prefer a thin broth, and others are so thick that you can pile up a chunky bite full on your spoon.
Some recipes call for bacon which adds a subtle smoky flavor and others might spike the soup with a hint of sherry. The main thing is that a New England chowder is a cream based soup with the addition of some sort of seafood, such as clams. This version, which comes from my mother, was created to specifically highlight the seafood.
When we made it together the first time I read the ingredients, and was surprised to find so few on the list, and that onions were not among them. “The soup is very delicate,” she explained. “You can add onions or garlic if you want, but in the end it will slightly overpower the flavor of the seafood.” After tasting it, I decided she was exactly right.
She also explained that she uses whatever seafood is on hand, so while she prefers fresh, she might add some frozen seafood and still get good results. The soup also uses another unusual ingredient – Dashi Powdered Bonito Soup Stock, which is actually used as a soup base in Japanese cooking.
Mom loves shopping in Asian markets and found that having it around was easier than keeping fresh seafood stock on hand, and a little goes a long way. I recommend using homemade seafood stock for best results if available.
Makes 2 – 4 servings
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Here are some additional soup recipes you might enjoy!
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