Chowder comes from the French word "chaudiere," meaning "large copper pot." In Brittany, fishermen would combine their fish in one of these pots, add spices, and share the resulting soup. This custom traveled with the Bretons to Newfoundland and then down to New England.

Saratoga Springs chowder fans fill streets and bellies



By Jennie Grey

SARATOGA SPRINGS The city's 16th annual Chowderfest drew a hearty crowd from all over the Capital Region, eager to sample unique chowder recipes from 85 participating restaurants and businesses Saturday. Chowders featuring seafood, root vegetables and even Irish whiskey warmed the hearts, hands and stomachs of participants.

Best friends Caroline Cooney, Chris Migliaro and David Webber came from Albany for their fifth year at Chowderfest. The energetic samplers tested as many as 22 chowders one year.

“This year, Gaffney's is in the lead,” Migliaro said.

Webber said, “But we'll test as many as the lines allow.”

Saratoga Convention and Tourism Bureau hosts Chowderfest as part of the Spa City's Winterfest week that concludes Sunday this year. The streets were generally packed with bundled-up chowder-samplers braving the cold, using cups of warm soup to warm their hands.

“Chowderfest has become a signature event for Saratoga Springs,” Saratoga Convention and Tourism Bureau President Todd Garofano said. “Last year, we had 25,000 people — both local and from as far away as Canada — out on the streets. In 2013, we had 73 participating establishments; this year, we have 85. Chowderfest just keeps growing.”

Paul O'Donnell, owner of Celtic Treasures on Broadway, partnered with Grand Avenue's Local Pub and Teahouse to create and serve Irish chowder. Some of its ingredients were monkfish and halibut — and whiskey and beer. O'Donnell sampled the very first cup and pronounced it delicious.

“The Local is one of my favorite watering holes, and teaming up with us is a good way for it to get some exposure,” he said.

At the Wine Bar, Manhattan clam chowder was practically flying out of the kettle. Sarah Evans, volunteering to help her family serve, was at her post since 11 a.m.

“So far, so good. We're almost out of chowder,” she said Saturday afternoon.

Sandy Smith and her boyfriend, Patrick Brand, both of Amsterdam, brought along their Chinese pug, Tamara. Luckily for Tamara and all the other visiting pets, several downtown businesses provided special doggie chowder for them.

Dave Ganim, whose wife, Sara Ellis, owns Dawgdom on Broadway, concocted the canine chowder they served at their table. The soup contained natural ground beef, low-sodium bacon and pumpkin, among other ingredients.

“We served 200 bowls,” Ellis said. “It's been a hit. Very few dogs have turned up their noses at it — and those were just being shy.”

This year's winner in the “People's Choice” category was The Merry Monk on Henry Street.




How to Make Corn & Roasted Red Pepper Chowder


 
This flavorful chowder has a wonderful balance of sweet and smokey and is full off healthy vegetables, too.

I’ve had this discussion with myself, in my head, for the past few weeks: “What is my very favorite thing to cook?”

I love to try out new pasta dishes and sauces and I always get a kick out of testing out a new dessert recipe. However, if I had to pick a single thing, it would be soups.

I’m talking really good homemade soups, stews and chowders. I’ve mentioned this before in my column, but the absolute best soup cookbook, in my opinion, hands down, is the New England Soup Factory Cookbook.

If you are a lover of delicious, homemade soups, I suggest making the investment in this cookbook because it’s chock full of amazing soup, chowder and stew recipes! I’ve gotten years and years of enjoyment out of making these wonderful homemade soups.

Honestly, there hasn’t been one that I’ve tried that I did not like. Not only is the soup amazing, but it makes a boatload, so I know I’m getting dinner for a crowd out of it and leftovers.

The instructions and explanation of each of this book’s soup recipes is a perfect step by step instruction guide for making the best homemade soups.

I feel like I’m side by side in the kitchen with Marjorie herself (I call her Margie. After all, we’ve been making soups together for years now and I feel like we’re great cooking friends!), following her perfect direction.

So, pull out your biggest stockpot and list of ingredients and be ready to treat yourself and your family and friends to some superior Roasted Red Pepper and Corn Chowder.

As a bonus, this is a simple way to get some veggies into the kids without them complaining. Have your storage containers handy, too, because there will be an abundance of leftovers, which make great kid’s lunches or a fast supper. You can pair this with last week’s cornbread recipe (that’s what I did) to add an extra special touch!

New England Soup Factory's Corn & Roasted Red Pepper Chowder

Ingredients:

6 Tablespoons salted butter

2 cups diced onions

1/2 cup diced celery

1 cup diced carrots

3 cloves garlic, minced

4 to 5 Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes

6 cups chicken stock or broth (I use College Inn)

2 teaspoons ground coriander

1 teaspoon ground bay leaves (I used 2 whole and discarded before serving)

3 lbs. frozen or fresh corn kernels (I used a combo of both)

2 cans (16 oz. each) creamed corn

2 tablespoons cornstarch dissolved in 4 tablespoons cold water

2 cups light cream

2 cups roasted red peppers, pureed until smooth

1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

2 teaspoons Tobasco sauce (I skipped this)

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Directions:

In a stockpot, melt butter over medium-high heat. Add onions, celery, carrots and garlic. Saute for 5 to 7 minutes. Add potatoes and saute for 5 minutes more. Add the broth and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer until the potatoes soften but don't lose their shape, about 10 minutes. Add the coriander, bay leaves and corn. Bring back to a boil and cook for 5 minutes. Add the creamed corn and the cornstarch-water mixture. Return to a boil and cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Add the cream, red peppers, cilantro, Tabasco sauce, salt and pepper. Bring the soup to a slow simmer for 2 minutes. Makes 10 to 12 servings.

 

 

 

 

South County Quahaug Chowder

6 pounds quahaugs
6 cups water
1/4 cup salt pork, cut into tiny cubes
1 cup chopped onion
4 cups cubed potatoes
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper


Scrub quahaugs. Place in large kettle with water. Cover. Place over medium heat until shells open, about 5 minutes. Remove meat from shells and grind into small pieces. Discard shells. Save all liquid; set aside.

Fry salt pork to light brown in large pot. Add onions; fry lightly. Add reserved liquid plus enough water to make 8 cups.

Add potatoes, salt and pepper. Simmer until potatoes are tender, about 5 minutes. Add chopped quahaugs; bring to light boil for 2 to 3 minutes. Serves 6.

Chowder is better made a day ahead.




New England Seafood Chowder

 
 Serves 8

Whether they feature shellfish, smoked fish or fresh fish, chowders are an essential part of New England cooking. Ours is prepared with a mixture of fresh cod, haddock and halibut, three important North Atlantic ocean varieties. We've made the surprising addition of butternut squash and kale--both popular regional vegetables--to this hearty soup for extra color and texture. Curry powder lends an unexpected bit of spice.

8 bacon slices, chopped

2 large onions, chopped

1 tablespoon curry powder

4 8-ounce bottles clam juice

4 cups 1/2-inch dice peeled white potatoes (about 3 pounds)

4 cups 1/2-inch dice peeled butternut squash (about 3 pounds)

2 bay leaves

4 cups chopped kale leaves

5 cups milk

1 cup half and half

2 tablespoons minced fresh thyme or 2 teaspoons dried, crumbled

3 pounds mixed fresh fish (a choice of cod, halibut, haddock and/or  scrod), cut into 3/4-inch pieces

To render fat, cook chopped bacon in heavy large saucepan over medium-high heat 5 minutes. Add chopped onions and sauté until onions are translucent, about 8 minutes. Add curry powder and stir 30 seconds. Mix in bottled clam juice, diced potatoes, diced butternut squash and bay leaves. Simmer 5 minutes. Add chopped kale leaves and simmer until vegetables are almost tender, about 10 minutes. Add 5 cups milk, 1 cup half and half and minced thyme. (Chowder can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover tightly and refrigerate.)

Bring chowder to simmer. Add fish and simmer until cooked through, about 3 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Discard bay leaves. Ladle chowder into bowls and serve.

New England Clam Chowder


This is the Culinary Institute of America's version of the American classic, rich and creamy. Paired with a salad and bread, it becomes a hearty meal.

Ingredients

1 1/4 pound canned clams, minced, juices reserved

2-3 cups bottled clam juice

2 bacon slices, minced

1 onion, diced

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 bay leaf

1/2 teaspoon thyme leaves, chopped

1 pound potatoes, peeled, diced

3 cups heavy cream or half and half

6 tablespoons dry sherry, or to taste

Salt, to taste

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Tabasco sauce, to taste

Worcestershire sauce, to taste

Oyster or saltine crackers, as needed

Drain the clam juice from the minced clams and combine with enough bottled juice to equal 3 cups of liquid.

Cook the bacon slowly in a soup pot over medium heat until lightly crisp, about 8 minutes.

Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is translucent, about 5-7 minutes. Add the flour and cook over low heat, stirring with a wooden spoon, for 2-3 minutes.

Whisk in the clam juice, bring to a simmer, and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. The liquid should be the consistency of heavy cream. If it is too thick, add more clam juice to adjust the consistency. Add the bay leaf and fresh thyme.

Add the potatoes and simmer until tender, about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, place the clams and cream in saucepan and simmer together until the clams are cooked, about 5-8 minutes.

When the potatoes are tender, add the clams and cream to the soup base. Simmer for 1-2 minutes.

Stir in the sherry. Season to taste with salt, pepper, Tabasco, and Worcestershire sauce. Serve in bowls with the crackers on the side.


Corn and Crab Chowder


yield: Makes 4 first-course servings

active time: 25 minutes

total time: 35 minutes

Be sure to use white corn—it's sweeter.

Ingredients

1 16-ounce bag frozen petite white corn (do not thaw), divided

1 cup low-fat (1%) milk

1 8-ounce bottle clam juice

4 tablespoons sliced green onions, divided

2 teaspoons minced peeled fresh ginger, divided

4 1/2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice, divided

2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter

4 ounces cooked crabmeat, flaked



Preparation

Reserve 1/4 cup corn. Bring remaining corn and milk to boil in medium saucepan. Cover; remove from heat. Let stand 10 minutes. Puree mixture in blender. Add clam juice, 3 tablespoons green onions, and 1 teaspoon ginger; puree again until almost smooth. Return puree to saucepan; bring to simmer. Mix in 1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper.

Melt butter in small skillet over medium heat. Add reserved 1/4 cup corn; sauté 1 minute. Add crab, 1 tablespoon green onions, 1 teaspoon ginger, and 3 teaspoons lemon juice; stir just until warm. Season with salt and pepper. Divide soup among bowls; mound crab mixture in center.

Thick 'n' hearty, creamy white clam chowder is a meal in itself.


Serves: 4

Cooking Time: 25 min

Ingredients

1 small onion, chopped

1 celery stalk, chopped

2 (6-1/2-ounce) cans chopped clams, undrained

1 (8-ounce) bottle clam juice

1 3/4 cups chicken broth

1 large potato, peeled and diced

1/8 teaspoon dried thyme

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

3 tablespoons cornstarch

2 cups (1 pint) heavy cream

Instructions

In a soup pot, saute the onion and celery over medium heat 3 to 5 minutes, until tender. Add clams, clam juice, chicken broth, potato, thyme, salt, and pepper; cover and bring to a boil.
 

Reduce heat to medium, and cook, covered, for 12 to 15 minutes, until potatoes are tender. In a bowl, dissolve cornstarch in cream; add to soup.
 

Cook 5 minutes, or until thickened, stirring frequently