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Stories and Stovies

New England Clam Chowder

There are more soup recipes in the Scottish section, but I’d like to put this one in because when we lived in Utah I went through a clam chowder phase during the cold winters up there (thank goodness we’re now living in Phoenix, Arizona) and we spent a lot of time shoveling snow, wrapping up in boots, gloves, hats, scarves (all the things we no longer have in our wardrobes!) and trying to stay warm! I especially remember one winter when it was so cold I wouldn’t let Stephanie and Elisabeth go to school (Churchill Jr. High) and we lived right next door to it. We had two fireplaces in that house, both of them going that winter day, heater blazing, and we were still cold. However, the kids not being fish people this great recipe became a meal for one. Hope you enjoy it.

¼lb salt pork, cubed, or bacon substitute
at least 2 chopped onions
2 – 3 cans of clams, or more if you like
at least 6 diced medium potatoes
5 cups of water
Only a little added salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
Cayenne or thyme if you like to spice this up
3 cups evaporated milk
Cornstarch if you need it to thicken up your broth.

Brown your meat in a deep, heavy pot – cast iron kettles are really good. Add onions and cook until nicely browned. Add potatoes to this mix, cover with the cold water, heat to boiling and simmer until the potatoes are the texture you like.

Then mix in the clams, seasonings and the milk. Heat to a nice boil, then simmer until the clams are cooked, and add the cornstarch if you need.

I like mushrooms, so a can of condensed cream of mushroom soup goes into mine, and sometimes I brown mushrooms up there with the onions.

I’m not real fond of the Manhattan style clam chowder, but this can become that style if you add green pepper and celeries to your onions and if you use tomato juice or, better still, cream of tomato soup instead of the milk.

Soup is always good on rainy days, especially in Scotland. The little nursery rhyme (and the illustration is from the out of print Marguerite de Angeli nursery rhyme book) was a favorite of mine and taught to all seven of the kids, and my grandchildren, too.

Doctor Foster went to Gloucester
In a shower of rain.
He stepped in a puddle,
Right up to his middle,
And never went there again!

Doctor Foster

When I sent the original recipe book to Elisabeth in Florida for Christmas, 1999, she made a fun project out of having her little boy, Jobe, color the pictures and add some of his art work to the recipes. What a good idea. Dr. Foster wasn’t in the original book, but I think this is fun one for the kids. Hope you enjoy.

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