It was the last time New England and Sunday Football will be paired this season and the first time this year I decided on making this hearty soup. Yes, the Patriots lost the battle on the gridiron but never was their a more fitting food. Joseph C Lincoln, the American author and poet, said this of chowder:
“A New England clam chowder, made as it should be, is a dish to preach about, to chant praises and sing hymns and burn incense before. To fight for. The Battle of Bunker Hill was fought for–or on–clam chowder; part of it at least, I am sure it was. It is as American as the Stars and Stripes, as patriotic as the national Anthem. It is ‘Yankee Doodle in a kettle.” – Joseph C. Lincoln (1870-1944)
So let’s begin to create history with the battle field in your kitchen. Here’s what you will need:
BEFORE CLAM CHOWDER
1. Clams 2. Clam Broth 3. Organic Milk 4. Canned Clams (2) 5. 2lbs Little Neck Clams Shelled 6. Potatoes 7. Celery 8. Onions 9. Sherry 10. Bacon 11. Misc. Spices
Start with a base flavor profile. In a deep pot I chopped and added onions, celery and bacon with a little bit of olive oil. The bacon arguably has its own fat, but in cooking in a pot rather than a saute pan, it is essential that nothing burns or sticks. This is the base for soup and any char that develops will stick to the bottom of the pot and surface to the top of your palette.
Wash your potatoes. It does two things. It reduces the starch and frankly the organisms still potentially living on the skin. Potatoes even bought at Whole Foods are rooted in soil. They are dug up from the earth. Mind you, I like a little grit, but that’s only on the foot ball field.
“This is one of the best individual rivalries in the history of American sports, even if the two guys aren’t banging away at each other in the low blocks the way Bill Russell and Wilt Chamberlain did; even without the historical significance and glitz of Magic vs. Bird; or the personal histility that Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier brought to their three prizefights.”–New York Daily News, Sunday Jan. 19, 2014
1. Extra Virgin Olive Oil 2. Old Bread 3. Pepper 4. Salt 5. Italian Spices 6. Fontina Cheese
New England Patriots and the Denver Brancos meet at the center yard line. That’s even playing field. Peyton Manning & Tom Brady were there 14 times before the AFC Championship match-up. It started the last day of September 2001. Tom Brady won the first time. Peyton Manning, the last time. Funny the way it is.
Croutons are a story of old and new. I always use up bread. The same philosophy of reusing, revitalizing and refreshing old furniture in my design life at http://www.tigerlilysgreenwich.com applies to food. I don’t throw food away unless it is rotton. Eat your leftovers or repurpose them. There are starving people in America who lack access to food.
According to feedarmerica.org, “In 2012, 49.0 million Americans lived in food insecure households, 33.1 million adults and 15.9 million children.”
In layman’s terms, that means two-years ago, 49-million American’s didn’t know where their next meal was coming from, the day before.When you are lucky enough to buy food to feed yourself, use it.bOtherwise it is a waste.
Use old bread for croutons cut into chunks. Mix-in olive oil, shredded cheese and spices until moist. Spread on cookie sheet and bake 350 degrees.
The croutons should crumble and break into different size pieces as you touch. They can last for up to three-weeks in an air-tight seal and perfect added texture to salads. I used it here, unexpectedly, in place of traditional oyster crackers. I stronly believe in presentation and completing a thought in any field. Similiar to design, the thought process in food has no exceptions in balance, texture, color and presentation.
“Think in layers and always ask, what elements do I need to make the circle come full round?”—Samantha Knapp
On the subject of full circle comes the completion of the soup. From the initial base, I layered in bay leaves, the potatoes, salt, pepper, the canned little neck clams while slowly adding the liquid components, clam juice, milk and sherry. Let that all cook for at least ten minutes at a boil, then simmer for twenty more.
AFTER: CLAM CHOWDER
Serve in a deep bowl with a soup spoon. Garnish with bacon bits and the croutons.
Tom Brady at 36-years-old won 10 of 14 games before this Sunday. With the Super Bowl on the line in a returning match-ups, each team has come out with a win. Peyton Manning 37-years-old now tipping that scale. On route to his third Super Bowl, a feet seen only by his rival Tom Brady, Troy Aikmen, Terry Bradshaw and Joe Montana, Manning had this to say:
“You certainly want to win one more”–Peyton Manning
I say try the soup.