Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Clam Chowder (or Fish or Seafood...)

Here is a great recipe for a cold fall evening. It's super simple, can be modified and totally delicious. I serve it with a salad and the meal is complete. Serves 4

2 slices of bacon (optional)
1 onion, finely chopped
2 large potatoes, finely diced
1 can of clams OR 200g of fish fillets OR 200 g (around 1/2 lb) of seafood - shrimp, scallops, mussels
1/4 tsp liquid smoke (in your regular grocery aisle)
1/2 tsp oil, salt free marg or salt free butter
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1 can of fat free evaporated milk or 1 1/2 cups of skim milk with 2 tbsp of corn starch added.

Heat the 1/4 tsp of the oil, margarine or butter in a saucepan over med heat. Add the bacon if using and cook until crisp. Remove the bacon and let it sit on a paper towel while you prepare the rest.

Add remaining oil. margarine or butter, reduce the heat to medium-low and saute the onions, careful not to brown them, just soften them.
Add the potatoes and enough water just to cover them. You can use chicken, veggie or seafood broth if you want but water will work just fine. Simmer the potatoes for 15 minutes.
Add the clams, fish or seafood. Heat until just cooked through, the clams are already cooked so just heat them through, about 2 minutes. The fish or seafood will take about 5 minutes.
Add the milk and cook until thickened if using the cornstarch, otherwise just heat through.

The liquid smoke is a great thing. It adds a great bacon flavour to many dishes without the fat or salt. I've had the same bottle for years, it keeps well in the cupboard.

You can leave the potatoes unpeeled if you like. We sometimes do. I make chowder all the time. It's a real maritime tradition!

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