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.

Cape Ann-style

Marilyn Gerhart of Easton sent in a Clam Chowder recipe for Charles Fern of Emmaus. "This is a New England chowder made in the Cape Ann-style, which means it's not thickened with flour. To turn this into the thicker Boston or Cape Cod-style chowder, simply sprinkle 3 tablespoons of flour over the softened onions and celery and cook, stirring for about 1 minute before continuing with the recipe," says Marilyn. This recipe is from "The New England Clam Shack Cookbook" and the author is Brooke Dojny.

Bob Ravier of Center Valley sent in a Bread Pudding recipe for Nora Bell of Allentown. This recipe is from the Meyers family that owned the former Meyer's Restaurant, Quakertown. Nora's request for the recipe was published several months ago.

3 cups sea clam strips or other chopped hard -shell clams in liquor

1 Tbsp. salt, plus additional to taste

4 cups warm water

2 1/2 cups water

1/2 lb. salt pork diced

3/4 cup celery

3/4 cup chopped onions

6 cups peeled and diced red-skinned potatoes (8 medium-sized potatoes)

3 cups light cream

1-2 cups whole milk

Freshly ground black pepper

Drain the clams, reserving the liquor. If using strips, chop them. Place the clams in a large bowl with the tablespoon of salt and add the warm water. Let soak for 15 minutes. Scoop out 1 cup of the soaking water and reserve. Drain the clams.

Meanwhile, in a large soup pot, cook the salt pork over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until the pork is well browned and the fat is rendered, about 15 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to remove most of the pork pieces, leaving the drippings in the pan. Add the celery and onions, and cook until softened, about 5 minutes

Smoked scallop and mussel chowder

August 03, 2011

Serves 4

1 ½ cups light cream

4 ounces smoked scallops

4 ounces smoked mussels

2 slices bacon, finely chopped

1 large onion, chopped

3 cups whole milk

16 small red potatoes, halved or quartered

Handful fresh dill, finely chopped (for garnish)

1. In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring cream to a simmer. Remove from heat, and add smoked scallops and mussels; set aside.

2. In another saucepan over medium-high heat, render the bacon, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes or until crisp. With a slotted spoon, transfer bacon to a plate lined with paper towels.

3. Add the onion to the pan, and cook, stirring often, for 8 minutes or until translucent.

4. Add the milk and bring the mixture to a simmer. Add potatoes, lower the heat, and simmer for 20 minutes or until potatoes are tender.

5. Gently stir in cream and smoked shellfish. Cook for 3 minutes, or until the chowder is hot. Ladle into bowls and garnish with bacon and dill.

History of Chowda

When the Boston Red Sox play the New York Yankees, may heaven help the city who hosts this contest because things will definitely get “rowdy!” The rivalry between these two teams is so mighty, extra police presence is required around the venue, bars and restaurants pack extra tables and chairs in place, and ticket prices skyrocket to an unaffordable level for the average fan. The rivalry between these two cities has grown out of the ball park and has extended to all manner of competitive things. One that immediately comes to mind is that of Clam Chowder.

In 1836, clam chowder was already well-known in Boston and served at Ye Olde Union Oyster House, the nation's oldest continuously operating restaurant. I’ve had the Clam Chowder at Ye Olde Union Oyster House and I will tell you, rivalry be damned, it was among the creamiest, freshest, and finest bowls of Chowder I’ve ever eaten! I highly recommend it.

Manhattan style clam chowder came later, circa 1930 with the addition of tomatoes in place of milk, the work of Portuguese immigrants in Rhode Island, as tomato-based stews were already a traditional part of Portuguese cuisine. Scornful New Englanders called this modified version "Manhattan-style" clam chowder because, in their view, calling someone a New Yorker is an insult (of course).

Boston style Clam Chowder is white, creamy, and packed with clams and potatoes:

Manhattan style Clam Chowder is red, tomato based, and packed with clams and few (if any) potatoes:

I find both styles delicious. Personally, I would never order creamy white chowder while I was in New York, and I’d be fooling to expect a decent bowl of red chowder if I were in Boston. “Go with the local specialty,” is my motto!

Traditional Rhode Island clam chowder has clear broth. “Clearly” less popular than the other two, these chowders are still served, especially at long-established New England restaurants and hotels. Creamy chowders are available, but you’ll find the natives sitting in front of a bowl of clear broth chowder.

People in Delaware actually put fried cubes of salted pork in their clam chowder. Personally, I think that’s crazy so I won’t even dignify such a recipe with a response. Your mileage may vary…

Rhode Island Fish Chowder: A New England Favorite

Do you like to visit those quaint clam shacks down at the seashore for your favorite bowl of seafood bisque or New England Clam Chowder? You can enjoy New England Fish Chowder all year long with this authentic recipe from Rhode Island. Stir up a pot when the boat returns to the dock and the fishing trip is over!

This recipe can be cooked right over the campfire and served in paper bowls, or is worthy enough to be served in your best china soup tureen.

Freeze the fish for future stews. Our family enjoys savoring a batch in a large chowder pot served over the Christmas Holidays.

Authentic New England Fish Chowder

1 lb. salt pork, cut into strips, soaked in boiling water 5 minutes and drained

4 lb. cod or sea bass fillets, cut into 4-inch squares

3 c. finely chopped onions

1 Tbl. chopped fresh summer savory or one tsp. dried savory

3 Tbl. chopped parsley

1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper

Split pilot crackers, cream crackers or ship biscuits or any plain, unsalted crackers that have not been oil-dipped

3 Tbl. butter

1 Tbl. flour

1. Make a layer of the salt pork in the bottom of a chowder kettle. Top with a layer of the fish, then the onions and season with some of the savory, parsley and cayenne.

2. Make a layer of the crackers. Repeat layers until all ingredients are used, ending with crackers that have been spread with two tablespoons of the butter.

3. Pour water down the side of the kettle until water almost covers top layer of crackers. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer one hour. Replenish water level with boiling water if level sinks too low.

4. Decant the liquid into a saucepan. Blend together the remaining butter and the flour and gradually whisk the mixture into the simmering liquid.

5. Transfer solid part of chowder to a tureen or soup bowls and pour thickened liquid over.

Yield: 8-10 servings

Rhode Island clear chowder recipe

Here in New England, we stand by our clam chowder, but we don't all stand by the same chowder. Rhode Island boasts its very own, chock full of clams and potatoes but utterly devoid of cream, or tomatoes, or anything but clam broth. It's a soup for clam lovers, and for people who can't have dairy, and for people who grew up having a bowl of chowdah with stuffies and a cabinet to wash it down. If you don't know what I'm talking about, you're not from here, so perhaps you've never tasted our clear chowder. I hope you like it.

Rhode Island clear chowder

Serves 6.

2 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
1 large Idaho potato, peeled and diced
1 quart clam broth
1 Tbsp fresh thyme leaves
1 lb minced clams
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp fresh black pepper

In a Dutch oven or heavy stock pot, melt the butter in the oil over low-medium heat. Add the onion and celery, and sauté for 2-3 minutes until the onions are translucent. Stir in the diced potato, then pour in the clam broth and thyme leaves.

Bring the soup to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes or until the potato is soft when pierced with a knife. Using a wooden spoon, smash some of the potato against the side of the pot, and stir into the broth to thicken it slightly. Add the clams with any juice, and cook over low heat for 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Serve hot.