"stockings" at a home community Christmas Party.
We have a tradition of eating soup on Christmas Eve. As we've all grown older, our meal has evolved from pillsbury dough bread bowls and Campbell's canned tomato soup to sourdough bread bowls and homemade roasted tomato bisque. Last year, though, I was pregnant and in the throes of terrible nausea. We were waiting to surprise my family while opening Christmas Eve gifts, so I had to struggle through preparing the meal with my mom and keeping my gags under cover.
I remember her asking me to make a salad, and as the smell of romaine lettuce was one of the worst offenders (weird, I know!), I snuck off to the bathroom to call Andy and tell him that I was suffering and didn't think I could make it until later that night. Mom also had put me in charge of making the bisque, and I didn't check the seasoning or flavor, because we had made it for a few years and it was always delicious. Big mistake! I didn't add salt or any other seasoning. I added too much water and not enough broth. It was all I could do to stir the pot without throwing up.
We dished up the bowls and sat down together, excited for our meal and our time together. After prayer, we all took up big spoonfuls of the red fragrant liquid. The table got quiet, and we all looked around at each other.
"Ummm"...."Errrr"...."What happened?"..."This is really gross".
But I still had to keep the pregnancy a secret, so couldn't tell anyone why I had completely ruined the soup! None of us finished it, and we all left the table still hungry.
After we had told my family the news, my mom asked how I was feeling, and I said, "Terrible!" The soup fiasco was justified and explained. Now, it's a running family joke. Oh, and that was also the same day that I made pumpkin pies without any sugar. Pregnancy does weird things to your senses!
The reason for the story is that I now hope to redeem the soup disaster by making this New England Clam Chowder instead. It's hearty, rich, and filling. I did a test run for my Dad while visiting them last week, and it received two thumbs up. I can't wait to make it again.
New England Clam Chowder
(adapted from Cheeseslave)
1 can whole or 3 cans minced clams
5-6 slices bacon (added-nitrate free, as you'll be saving the fat)
Large onion, yellow or white
1 1/2 lb. Potatoes, sliced into coins (Russet, or I used Yukon Gold)
1/2 lb. celery, sliced (2 cups)
2 Tbsp. flour
32 oz. chicken or fish stock
1-2 cups cream (not ultra-pasteurized or UHP) depending on how creamy you'd like it.
Sea salt & freshly ground pepper, to taste
1. Fry the bacon slices over medium-high heat until crispy. Set bacon aside to drain on paper towel. Leave the bacon grease in the pot.
2. Chop the onion. Chop the clams if they are canned whole.
3. Peel and dice the potatoes, slice the celery.
4. Add the onions to the pot and fry in the bacon fat until the onions are soft.
5. Add the flour and stir until well incorporated. Add the potatoes.
6. Lower heat to medium. Add the stock. Simmer until potatoes are "al dente"
7. Crumble up the bacon and add to the pot, along with the clams and cream.
8. Salt and pepper to taste. Let sit at low for a while to thicken up; you can also mash up some of the potatoes and that will thicken it up as well.
Serve the chowder with buttered sourdough bread, or in bread bowls.
linking to the Healthy Home Economist's Monday Mania.