Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Almost totally Paleo Clam Chowder

There is something uniquely satisfying about good soup. My favorite has always been clam chowder. Perhaps it is because whenever my grandpa made soup, or took me out to eat, clam chowder was the top pick. Today I was chilly all day. It just seemed natural that soup was in order.

I say this is "almost" Paleo because there is a small amount of flour and some red potatoes in it. While the cream and butter are not traditionally Paleo, most "Paleoists" agree that real butter and heavy cream are acceptable in moderation.

I had to pause while I was scarfing it down in order to take a picture. Sadly, my desire to consume the contents of the bowl got the better of me when it came to geting an attractive shot. Just trust me when I say it was nearly perfect....the clam flavor was subtle and the chowder was a perfectly creamy consistency without being too thick.

I will say once again how much I love my food processor. It made slicing the veggies so easy. Here is what you will need to make the chowder:

5 medium to large red potatoes, diced into about 1 inch cubes, skin left on
1 leek, sliced thin, use the entire base, and you can use the tops if you like
4-5 smaller carrots, sliced thin
1 bunch of celery, sliced thin, icluding the leafy tops
3 cloves of garlic, grated over the pot while cooking
About 3 tbsp. bacon drippings or butter
1 tbsp. butter
1 tbsp. flour
4 cans of diced clams
1 bottle of clam juice
heavy cream, I probably used about 1 1/2 to 2 cups, but you can adjust as needed.
Sea Salt & fresh ground pepper to taste.

I sliced the carrots, leek and celery in my food processor. In a large stock pot, melt the bacon drippings, or butter. Add in the carrots, leek and celery. You want to just sweat these out. Basically, you want the leek slices to separate and nearly fall apart.

Next, add in the garlic. When it comes to processing fresh garlic, I learned a really cool trick from Rachel Ray. Get what is called a ribbon grater (here's a link). Mine is a Medium and I got it at Walmart, and I will say it's on my list of kitchen "must haves." It's way easier than mincing and it releases more of the flavor into the dish and no chunks! Simply hold the ribbon grater over the pot while it's cooking and grate the garlic right into it! Give it a good hard tap or two and you should be left with little to no garlic on the grater - and if you are, it wipes off really easily resulting in very little wasted garlic. But you will have to get used to getting it on your fingers.

Add in the potatoes and stir well. At this point you want to add in the clam juice and the canned clams (NOT drained) and enough water to just BARELY come up to the top of the contents of the pan. Cover and bring to a boil.

While that is cooking, take a smaller sauce pan and melt the tablespoon of butter, and then reduce the heat and whisk in the flour. It should immediately become very thick - this is roux (pronounced "roo") and is the basis for all creamy sauces (and gravy without lumps). Add to this about a cup of heavy cream and whisk until it's thickened up.

When the potatoes are tender, pour in the cream roux and mix well. Add in additional cream if desired. Simmer over medium low heat, stirring regularly. The chowder should thicken nicely. Add sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste - it'll likely use more salt than you expect, just keep tasting until it's right. 

Since I'm not eating bread, I just ladled it into a bowl and tried to be patient until it was cool enough to eat... But, should you be so inclined you could serve this in a sour dough bread bowl and I'm sure a good food coma would follow. 

1 comment:

  1. Hi. Just a random stopper by visiting because I was looking up Paleo clam chowder recipes - If you want to make this even better, you can use a different type of flour in the roux. I've been allergic to wheat for years so I had to experiment quite a bit. Tapioca starch works the best as far as paleo flours are concerned (over almond flour and coconut flour). You use less than you would for traditional flour, though - and it will still thicken up the soup. :)
    Aren't comfort foods the best? I completely understand only snapping a picture briefly! :)