Robert's Clam Chowder


As kids, Robert and I made two trips a year: Winter Park, Florida for Christmas to see my grandmother, aunts, uncles, and cousins and the Farm for the summer to see all of my Dad’s aunts, uncles, and cousins. Twice, we made spring break trips to Kitty’s condo in Naples, FL. It was there that Robert fell in love with Clam Chowder. I can’t remember the brand. I only remember, vividly, Kitty going to make Robert a can of it when “POP!” Robert and I came around the corner of the kitchen doorway to see Kitty standing there with a metal can opener in her hand, the can on the floor, and the entire kitchen and Kitty’s outfit covered in white clam chowder. “Well,” she said, “that can was no good.” And without so much as wiping her face, she reached for another can to try again.

For a Sunday lunch at Sunny’s, Nana had decided to do soup and sandwiches. I offered to bring a soup from Nashville and suggested Clam Chowder knowing it was one of Robert’s favorites. This is one recipe that still needs some tweaking. I apologized to Robert after the first batch had an orange tint due to disintegrated carrots. But he graciously pointed out that it added natural sweetness to the soup. My Sweet Babboo. . . He adds dill when reheating batches I freeze for him. I’m just not a dill fan.

3 (6.5 ounce) cans minced clams

1 cup minced onion

1 cup diced celery

2 cups cubed potatoes

1 cup diced carrots

3/4 cup butter

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

1 quart half-and-half

1 1/2 tsps salt

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1 bottle of clam juice

Salt and pepper

Optional: dill (Robert likes it; I hate it.)

~ Drain juice from clams into a large skillet. Add bottle of clam juice.

~ Add celery, potatoes, and carrots. Simmer until JUST tender; this is where I overdid the carrots!

~ Sauté onion, salt, and pepper in butter for 5 minutes. Add flour to make a roux. Cook for 2 minutes.

~ Whisk in cream and stir constantly till smooth.

~ Add vegetables, clam juice, and bring to simmer. Do not boil.

~ Take off heat, stir in clams, vinegar, and salt and pepper.

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