Recipe of the Week: (Real) New England Clam Chowder

Categories: How To, Recipes

Photo by Neil Conway
In New England, oyster crackers are a must.
From classic comfort foods to regional standouts and desserts, we'll be sharing a new recipe with you each week. See the complete list of recipes at the end of this post.

Before the temperatures rise to ungodly levels, we're sharing the secrets to a cold-weather favorite, New England Clam Chowder.

Also referred to as Boston clam chowder, the rich and filling white chowder has been a staple in New England fishing towns since the middle of the 18th century, when fish stews from coastal England and France were modified with journey-friendly ingredients like potatoes, onions, salt-pork, ship's biscuits, and local clams and oysters.

Made with milk or heavy cream, New England clam chowder is much thicker than other versions -- like the Southern Rhode Island chowder, made with clear broth, or Manhattan clam chowder, made with the addition of (gasp) tomatoes.

Apparently, including tomatoes is a serious no-no. According to the New York Times piece "Fare of the Country; New England Clams: A Fruitful Harvest," a Maine legislator went so far as to introduce a bill in 1939 making it illegal to add tomatoes to pots of clam chowder.

Tomatoes may be shunned, but oyster crackers sure aren't. New Englanders crush the crisp hexagonal crackers into their soup to thicken it, or serve them as garnish.

However you eat it, everyone can agree a bowl of warm and comforting clam chowder takes the edge off a cool day.

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Thank goodness you mentioned RI Clam Chowder which isn't the paste that is the Boston variety.  If your spoon stands up in the bowl, send it away......

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