NEW ENGLAND CLAM CHOWDER
It has officially been one year since I have moved to Portland, OR for my anesthesiology residency. It is hard to believe that I have been a doctor for already one full year! I have learned so much about the practice of medicine and have been blessed to able to take care of so many patients with extraordinary stories. It was an extremely rough year, with long hours. However, though it I did not realize it in the moment, I have learned and grown so much since my medical school graduation. I am in my last month of intern year and slowly starting to transition to anesthesiology. Not being able to do my chosen specialty for one year developed much fear and doubt about my career choice. This is mainly a result of having limited exposure in the OR during our intern year. However, I had just completed my first month practicing anesthesiology and all my concerns immediately dissolved. I am so excited to officially start my journey into my specialty. I know the road is going to be tough, but I owe it to myself and my years of training to be confident in my skills and knowledge to become the excellent anesthesiologist I strive to be.
Our next recipe is inspired by one of my new hobbies since living in the Pacific Northwest: Clamming. When in Oregon, one activity that you must experience is clamming. As an avid seafood lover myself, I hopped on the first chance to catch delicious clams with my co-interns. Here are some tips on clamming if you ever want to try it yourself! First you will need some waterproof boots, a clamgun or a shovel, and a shellfish license. I specifically go to Netarts Bay which is about 1.5 hours outside of Portland. You have to go when the tide is in the negatives, so be sure to look at the tide charts! I will link you guys to a video that taught me how to spot clams under the ground and how to use the clamguns to dig them up. Here in Oregon, you can catch a wide array of clams such as butter clams, cockles, horseneck clams and razor clams. Each has their own and delicious unique flavor. Here in Netarts Bay, the majority of the clams we catch are butter clams, which are massive and are the size of my palm. They have so much meat in them and are perfect for clam chowder. I am so excited to share with you my New England Clam Chowder recipe I made using my freshly caught clams.
Cook Time: 1-1.5 hours
18oz of minced fresh clams or canned clams, minced. If using fresh clams, make sure to purge the clams and clean the clam meat of shells or sand
8 oz clam juice. (Can use store bought clam juice or fresh clam juice collected during the shucking process) Be sure to sift the juice to avoid any sand or shells in the extracted juice.
12 thick center-cut bacon strips, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
3 stalks of celery, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
5 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp parsley chopped
1½ lb of potatoes, peeled and chopped to ~¼ inch pieces
2 cups of chicken broth
½ cup all-purpose flour
2 bay leaves
3 tsp chicken bouillon
3 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp black pepper
2½ cup half and half
2 tbsp butter
Fresh parsley, chopped
In a large pot, add the bacon to a small amount of oil. Allow to fry on medium-high heat until semi-crispy
Add garlic, celery, onions and carrots to the pot, allowing them to sauté in the bacon fat until the onions become translucent. About 5-7 minutes
Add potatoes and allow to sauté for 1 minute. Then add butter. Once butter has melted, slowly add the flour. Stir well and allow to cook for an additional minute to allow the flour to break down and congeal to the vegetables and potatoes.
Add chicken broth, clam juice, bay leaves, garlic powder, chicken bouillon, black pepper and fresh parsley. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer. Allow to simmer for 15-20 minutes or until potatoes are soft
Stir in half and half and bring back to a simmer
Add clams. Add salt and pepper to taste. If soup is too thick or chunky, then add half and half slowly until the desired consistency is reached
Enjoy with oyster crackers, fresh parsley and garlic bread
New England Clam Chowder has always been one of my favorite soups to enjoy. However, I have never made the soup with fresh clams before. This really added that extra "umph" to the chowder's flavor profile. It is such a hearty dish that fills your stomach up. I highly recommend you enjoy a hot bowl of clam chowder on a cloudy and rainy day. For me personally, the consistency of clam chowder should be rich, but not sludgy or stew-like. Its texture should be creamy without feeling leaden, like you're sipping on gravy. Be sure to rinse your clam meat thoroughly, even if using canned clam meat. This will rid the clam meat of any shells and sand. You do not want to ruin your delicious chowder with a gritty bite of sand or even worse, a trip to the dentist from chipping your tooth on a clam shell. The number of aprons I will award this dish is...