The summer after I graduated from high school, my best friend and I went to Boston, Massachusetts for a girl’s graduation vacation. It was one of the best times of my life. One of the greatest things that we kept searching for was food!
Gotta have that new England clam chowder!
New England Clam Chowder
- 3 6.5 oz. cans chopped/minced clams in clam juice
- 1 8 oz. bottle clam juice
- 6 thick center-cut bacon strips chopped
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 2 stalks celery finely chopped
- 1 large onion chopped
- 1 1/4 pounds 3 1/2 cups Russet potatoes, peeled and diced into 1/4-1/2” cubes
- 3-5 garlic cloves minced
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes optional
- 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 cups low sodium chicken broth
- 2 teaspoons chicken bouillon
- 2 bay leaves
- 1/2 tsp EACH dried parsley dried oregano, salt
- 1/4 tsp EACH dried thyme pepper
- 1 cup heavy cream
- Oyster crackers
- Fresh parsley
- Drain clam juice from cans into a measuring cup. Add enough bottled clam juice to equal 2 1/2 cups. Set aside.
- In a Dutch oven, cook bacon over medium heat until fat is rendered and slightly brown. Remove half of the bacon with a slotted spoon to a paper towel-lined plate. To the remaining bacon and drippings, melt in 1 tablespoon butter over medium heat.
- Increase heat to medium-high and add celery and onion. Saute for 5-7 minutes or until onions are soft. Add potatoes, garlic, red pepper flakes (if using) and sauté 30 seconds. Sprinkle in flour and cook an additional 1 minute. Stir in chicken broth, reserved 2 ½ cups clam juice, chicken bouillon, bay leaves, and all seasonings. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer. Simmer, uncovered, for 15-20 minutes or until potatoes are very tender.
- Stir in heavy cream and bring to a simmer to heat through. Discard bay leaves. Remove from heat and stir in clams. Taste and add salt/pepper to taste. (You may or may not need additional salt depending on how salty your clams and bacon are.) For a thinner or less chunky soup stir in additional heavy cream/milk or chicken broth.
- Top individual servings with reserved bacon and oyster crackers and fresh parsley if desired.
New England Spider Cake
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for greasing the pan
- 2 cups whole milk
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 1/2 tablespoons white vinegar
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup yellow cornmeal
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 cup heavy cream
- Maple syrup, for serving
- Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat the oven to 350°F. Butter the bottom and sides of a 10-inch cast-iron skillet. Place the skillet in the oven to heat while you make the batter. Melt remaining 2 tablespoons butter, set aside to cool.
- Place 2 cups whole milk, 1/2 cup granulated sugar, 2 large eggs, 1 1/2 tablespoons white vinegar, and the melted butter in a large bowl. Whisk to blend well. Add 1 cup all-purpose flour, 3/4 cup yellow cornmeal, 1 teaspoon baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon baking soda, and 3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt. Whisk until nearly smooth. The batter will be very thin. Set it aside to rest for about 5 minutes.
- Remove the hot skillet from the oven. Pour in the batter. Pour 1 cup of heavy cream directly into the center. Bake until the cake is deeply golden and begin to pull away from the sides of the pan — the cake will still jiggle a bit on top and might have a few cracks along the surface — 50 to 60 minutes. Let cool slightly before slicing into wedges, or spoon warm from the pan. Either way, serve with a drizzle of maple syrup.
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