Morning Fog and a Huge Warm Hug

I see this picture and start to salivate. I encountered this warm bowl on the coast of Oregon during recent travels. Think of rich, white clam chowder. Soft chunks of white potato and small, sweet shrimp stirred in, then topped with shredded parmesan and a sprinkling of sweet paprika. Heaven. On. Earth.

It’s like the salty ocean, a bit of the coastal morning fog, and a huge warm hug from the nearby giant Redwoods. Harmony of nature in a bowl. The soup base is velvety on your tongue and the fresh, local seafood is noticeably authentic. We had it at a small town fair, sitting at outside picnic tables with a singing duo about 10 feet away. Toe-tapping locals enjoyed the day around us. The sun was shining but we were tucked under the tent while the waiter took our order and came back with two steaming bowls, the slap of the screen door closing behind as he came from the back kitchen. This is far from the normal mid-Western fair food that I am used to, and I would take this over a funnel cake any day!

I’ve had clam chowder before, but this…this was something different.

This dish will be my anthem to Autumn. My lazy day, climb on the stepstool and break-out-the-slowcooker-from-the-top-cupboard-day while I unearth wool sweaters, boots, scarves, and turtlenecks. A pot of this simmering while you have a fire in the hearth or a candle on the table perfects the cozy picture.

Why not make up a pot and invite friends over for dinner? Add some crusty bread for dunking and grabbing every last drop. Have the recipe ready, because they’re going to ask for it.

 

Slumgullion

  • 6 slices bacon
  • 1/2 to 1 c. coarsely chopped onion
  • 2 c. clam broth ( I use Clam Base)
  • 3 medium potatoes, peeled and diced (3 c.)
  • dash of Tabasco
  • 1 t. coarsely ground black pepper
  • 3 c. milk (I prefer 2%)
  • 1 c. evaporated milk or heavy cream
  • 1 1/2 c. clams, chopped (fresh is better)
  • 2 c. small cooked shrimp
  • salt to taste
  • 1/2 tsp sweet Hungarian paprika
  • 1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese

Fry bacon over medium heat til crisp and drain on paper towel, cool, break into bite-size pieces. Pour off all but 2 tablespoons of the bacon fat and saute the onion in the reserved bacon fat, then stir in clam broth. Add the potatoes and bring to low rolling boil and cook til potatoes are fork-tender, about 10 minutes. Add Tabasco sauce and pepper. Heat the milk and evaporated milk (or cream), add to potatoes along with clams. When the clams are warm (in a few minutes) stir in shrimp and bacon and salt to taste. (If you’re not in to bacon, omit it and use 2 tbl butter instead)

 

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