Growing up in New England, chowder was part of everyone’s diet. Fish chowder, seafood chowder, corn chowder, clam chowder, didn’t make any difference. Several times a month we ate chowder (pronounced chow-dah for those of you not from New England). This recipe can be altered to make any of these very easily, just substitute corn (and chicken for protein) for the clams; or add some crab and/or lobster and shrimp; or put in some white fish, usually cod. Recipe makes enough for 4 appetizer servings or 2 entrée servings.
- 1 medium to large sweet potato, peeled, diced and cooked (if you prefer, you can use russet potato instead)
- 1/2 cup cooked peas (I usually add them to the pot with the sweet potatoes)
- 1/2 medium onion, sautéed until soft
- 2-3 slices of bacon, cooked and diced (I use uncured turkey bacon but feel free to use whatever bacon your family likes)
- 1 can of diced or chopped clams (6-8 ounces) OR 1 pound of fresh clams steamed, cleaned and diced (be sure to save 1/4 cup of the steaming liquid to add to the chowder)
- 2 cups of rice milk (you could use any milk you like but rice is the mildest and in chowder, you don’t want a milk that interferes with the taste of the clams)
- 1 tablespoon brown rice flour made into a slurry with 1/2 cup of the rice milk
- Salt and pepper to taste
After you cook the sweet potatoes and peas, drain and put back into the pot. Add the onion, clams (don’t drain them but add the juice as well as the clams), and the milk to the pot. Bring to a boil and add the slurry of brown rice flour and stir until the chowder starts to thicken. We don’t want it really thick, just enough to get a good “mouth feel” when you eat the chowder. Add the bacon and serve. You can garnish it with diced scallion or chives if you like. My mother always served chowder with oyster crackers but those are also optional. Its so thick and hearty that you really don’t need crackers with this chowder.