A big bowl of warm chowder…works on a dock overlooking the sea in the Summer and it works next to a roaring fireplace in the Winter. It’s an all seasons food so enjoy this one all through the year. New England Clam Chowder is just about one of the best things…EVER but this is a little different..it’s a creamy soup with potatoes, vegetables, fresh dill, Hungarian Paprika, Onions, Sherry, Butter, and SHRIMP AND CLAMS. It’s an elegant dish. Make it for a fancy dinner or it’s wonderfully casual to..jeans and T-shirt time infront of the TV. A little bit about some of the ingredients. If you’re not using dill in some of your cooking, let this start you off. It’s not just for flavoring pickles. The Paprika should be SWEET HUNGARIAN. SZGED is a good brand to look for, most Supermarkets do sell it so I’m not promoting a ridiculously tough ingredient to find. Why Hungarian? It’s way more aromatic than the cheaper PAPRIKA that just says PAPRIKA on the label. There’s also a hot Hungarian paprika, don’t use that one in this. For the Shrimp, if you can, use Wild Caught U.S.Shrimp and the clams, fresh that are shucked and chopped, liquor reserved. When these items are not available, find the freshest shrimp you can and use a good prechopped fresh clam or a good canned variety. Doxsee is generally a safe canned variety. So, into the kitchen we go to whip up a pot of SHRIMP AND CLAM CHOWDER….you are going to love this.
BTW, don’t think that this is an all day affair….you’re going to be shocked…in an hour you will be enjoying this.
SERVES: 4 TIME: 1 HOUR, about
3 tablespoons Unsalted butter
1 medium onion, fine dice
1 peeled and diced carrot
2 medium stalks of celery, fine dice
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 cup Sherry (Harvey’s Bristol Cream is really nice in this!)
2 1/2 cups homemade chicken broth or an organic/fat free low sodium boxed broth
2 tbs. tomato paste
1 1/2 tbs. SWEET HUNGARIAN PAPRIKA
Kosher Salt and black pepper to taste
1/2 tbs Tabasco Sauce or 1/8 tsp. ground cayenne or chiles
2 russet potatoes, peeled and diced
1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined, coarsely chopped
18 clams,steams, shells discarded, clams chopped, liquor reserved or 1 cup chopped clams
1 1/4 cups heavy cream, organic is richest
2 tbs freshly chopped dill
In heavy sauce pan heat the butter. Add the onions, carrots and celery, pinch of salt and pepper. Cook this on medium till the vegetables are soft, about 15 minutes, careful not to let them brown. Simply lower the heat if you see any of that happening. Add the 1/2 the dill. Heat for 2 minutes. Now sprinkle the flour over the softened vegetables. Add the paprika. Whisk gently and let this cook until a roux is formed around the vegetables. Cook an additional 1 minute or so..then add the sherry. Whisk till blended and bring to a boil. The whole thing will begin to thicken up. Whisk in the tomato paste. Then whisk in the tabasco and the chicken stock. Make sure it’s ALL well blended. NOW bring this to a boil for 2 minutes..then reduce to a simmer.Let this cook for 10 minutes. Keep Stirring. Now add the potatoes and cook until they are fork tender, takes at least 10 minutes. Only when you’ve tested the potato and it’s done. then you will whisk in the cream and the paprika. Add the shrimp and clams with their liquor and simmer this for 6 minutes. Taste for seasonings. Adjust. When the soup is of “chowder” consistency you can shut it off. Stir in the remaining dill. Now let it sit for at least 1/2 hour..TIP..make the soup..put it to the back of the stove..serve it an hour after you are done. Let those flavor marry each other, but certainly, you can eat it before you wait another hour…I like letting it “meld” first. Another option is to serve each bowl with a small spoonful of sour cream in the middle…ahh very rich, but very delicious.
Serve this with nice soft dinner rolls or biscuits..with sweet butter.