If you've ever been lucky enough to visit San Francisco, you probably know about Boudin Bakery.
Their famous sourdough making expertise is legendary in this wonderful city's history, however, I don't want to get into sourdough bread, as much as I do, clam chowder. Before I ruffle any feathers, I know that the East Coast has claim to this dish, but I do love eating it in sourdough bread bowls, as they serve it at Boudin Bakery. I haven't managed to make the sourdough mini-boules (they're easy enough to find, at least in LA as Trader Joe's even has them,) but I have come up with my own version of clam chowder with which I am very happy!
On an East Coast trip from Maryland to Massachusetts many years ago, I picked up a postcard with a clam chowder recipe on it. It has been in my recipe book ever since, even though I've never made it, the recipe on the postcard is the one with which I based my own.
Instead of fresh clams, I use canned. Instead of salt pork, I use pancetta, and I've made more changes, so it really is a totally different recipe, but it makes a rich, thick and creamy New England style chowder without using cream (some clam chowder recipes use TWO CUPS of cream!) so it's the recipe I always use. (If you can't find pancetta, you can use salt pork.)
CHRISTINA'S CLAM CHOWDER in a SOURDOUGH BREAD BOWL
2 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, diced
4 oz (1/2 cup) pancetta, cut into bite sized pieces
2 oz (1/4 cup, 1/2 stick) butter
2 1/2 tbsp flour
16 oz (2 cups) milk
12 oz (1 1/2 cups) water
1 1/2 tsp Kosher or sea salt
1 large tsp chicken bouillion (low sodium Better than Bouillion is what I prefer)
2 medium sized potatoes, diced
2 small cans of chopped clams, liquid and clams separated
freshly ground pepper
few sprigs of chopped fresh parsley, and more to garnish, if desired
6 small sourdough bread boules
Put the olive oil and onion in a large pot over medium high heat and saute for 5 minutes.
Add the pancetta and cook for another few minutes, then remove from pan and set aside.
Now add the butter to the pot, and when melted, add the flour and mix well.
Cook for about 4 minutes over medium high heat, then slowly begin adding the milk,
a little at a time. If you add too much milk at first, the white sauce can turn lumpy.
Continue to add milk gradually, adding a little more each time, mixing until it is
completely absorbed before adding more, until it has all been added.
If you find you have lumps, just use a stick blender to fix the problem-I won't tell! ;)
Finally, add the water and liquid from the clams.
Taste for salt, adding more if needed, then put the pancetta and onion,
and potatoes into the soup.
Simmer over low heat, stirring often and
scraping the bottom to make sure it doesn't stick.
When the potatoes are ready, add the clams and parsley and cook for 3 minutes or so.
Taste for salt again, and add some freshly ground pepper
and remove from heat.
When ready to serve, cut the top off of the sourdough boules, and remove some of the inside to form a bowl, and reheat in a hot oven for about 5 minutes, to make the crust crispy.
Ladle hot chowder into the bread bowl.
You can see how creamy and thick this chowder is,
without using a drop of cream or half and half!
Of course you can serve it in a regular bowl too, but it is nice to have some sourdough bread along side it, and a regular loaf will do, too.
Here are some more of my soup recipes~