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…And We’re Back!
For two years while still in college I used to work for a restaurant that rhymes with Shmearl’s (ok the name of the restaurant was earl’s – and yes the name is not capitalized.) Anyways, over two years of late night bartending, double shifts and having family come in to visit while I was working there were a lot of days when all I had time to eat was a bowl of soup. The soup of choice was Clam Chowder. I never got the recipe; I asked, but it was not given up despite knowing all the chefs and having them over to my house for parties quite often. So finally after I left the restaurant and after I had officially eaten my 1,000th bowl I decided to try and make the recipe up myself. So here it is, and it’s pretty damn close. Not to mention delicious!
Shmearl’s New England Clam Chowder
2-4 slices of center cut bacon diced
1 large onion cut diced
1/2 tsp. thyme (powdered or leaves)
2 bay leaves
1/2 cup of instant potato flakes or left over mashed potatoes
2 bottles of clam juice
2 cans minced clams (save clam juice for use in chowder)
6-9 new potatoes cubed (about 1/4″)
2 Carrots; sliced
3 roma tomatoes; diced
1/2 cup heavy cream
salt and pepper to taste
In a large soup pot, fry diced bacon over medium heat until half cooked (should be pink not red). There should be about 2 tbs. bacon fat in the pot now, but if there isn’t add a dash of olive oil to the pot. Add onion, carrots and potatoes and saute, stirring constantly, with bacon until fragrant and almost soft (about 5 minutes.) Add thyme and bay leaves and continue to stir for 30-45 seconds. Stir in clam juice from the bottles and clam juice taken from the cans. Add some water (about a cup if there isn’t enough liquid.) Bring liquid to a simmer for about 10 minutes or until potatoes soften. Starch from potatoes should thicken the liquid, but add the potato flakes or mashed potatoes to thicken it up if necessary. Stir in clams, heavy cream, tomatoes and parsley. Then use salt and pepper to taste. Reduce heat to medium-low and heat though. Serve.
Follow the Recipe Extra:
It will save you a lot of stress if you cut up and dice everything before even starting the chowder. Also, If you don’t trust yourself not to burn the bacon, pull it out before putting the potatoes, onion and carrots in. Throw it back in when you add the clam juice. I love the taste of clams, but hate the texture. With a food processor or sharp knife go back through the canned clams and finely mince. If you’re the opposite, feel free to use more clams and substitute the clam juice from them for the extra water.
Well hi everyone. So sorry that I haven’t posted in two weeks. To make up for it, I’m posting a double recipe. And it’s a big one! This is one of those “looks-impressive-but-really-isn’t-hard-to-make” recipes. So make it when you need to impress someone.
Lamb Chops in Vinaigrette Reduction
4 lamb chops (3/4″ thick)
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1-2 tablespoons of olive oil
1/4 cup minced shallots
1/3 cup aged balsamic vinegar
3/4 cup beef broth
1 tablespoon of butter
Salt and pepper to taste
Pre-mix the salt, pepper, and thyme in a bowl. Use as a rub on the lamb chops. Season both sides of each chop and then place the chops, covered in the refrigerator for 15 minutes at least so they can absorb the spice (no longer than 20 min.). Heat the olive oil in a large skillet. The stove should be on high to medium high. Place the lamb chops in the skillet and cook for about 3 min on each side (for medium rare to rare). Remove when cooked to your liking and place on a separate plate covered with foil to let the juices redistribute.
In the pan add the shallots and cook until just browned (pan should still have a tbs. or so of oil, if not, add a little before adding the shallots). Stir in the vinegar and scrape up the bits of lamb that were left in the pan as the vinegar loosens it. Stir in the beef broth. Let the sauce reduce by half, about 5 minutes. Take your skillet off the heat and stir in the butter to cut the bitterness of the vinegar. Pour reduction over the chops and serve.
Country Potatoes and Onion (For 2 people)
3-4 Medium to large New Potatoes
1 cup of Onions sliced largely
2 tbs Olive Oil
Slice each potato in half and then into wedges. Cut onion into large quarter sized wedges. Put a skillet on the stove on medium high heat. Put oil in the pan and then toss in the potatoes and onions to get them coated in oil. Cook potatoes and onion until onion is fragrant and soft and potatoes are just getting brown (about 10 minutes). Drain excess oil. Place back on the heat and add salt, pepper and parsley to taste. Continue to cook until potatoes are golden brown and onion is almost translucent.
Follow The Recipe Extra:
Lamb: You want to put a nice sear on the chops so the oil needs to be very hot. The oil should be thin and have a glassy sheen, then it will be hot enough. When you drop the chops in, do not be panicked by the immediate cloud of “smoke”. You are not going to light your kitchen on fire! If you sear it just right each side should come out a dark perfect brown. Also, balsamic vinaigrette is bitter so if you’re sensitive to that kind of taste you can do one of two things to cut it: 1) reduce the amount of vinegar to 1/4 cup (this will reduce your reduction time though), 2) add more beef broth or 3) add more butter.
Potatoes: This is a recipe that’s all about personal taste and timing. There aren’t really any spice increments because everyone likes things differently. This is also an awesome addition to breakfast that can be made while preparing eggs or pancakes or whatever. For breakfast though, it’s usually good to cube the potatoes into smaller pieces though.