As the weather warms up, I find myself craving all kinds of clam chowder. The kind that is made with potatoes, onions, bell peppers, and bacon.
Its heavy, comforting and tasty. The kind of soup that you can sit down and slurp up with a spoon without worrying about what the calorie count is.
I have been on this diet of avoidance for the past few weeks, and I am now prepared to fall off the wagon and eat my chowder with gusto.
One of the most popular dishes at restaurants across the country, clam chowder has a strong following of fans. For some, chowder is an indulgence, while others seek to downsize or avoid it altogether.
Whatever your feelings on chowder, there are several ways to enjoy the rich blend of seafood, vegetables and potatoes.
What is a clam chowder?
Chowder is a traditional New England dish that originated in the early 19th century. It is a thick stew made from seafood, vegetables, and crustaceans, often with a rich broth that is thickened through the addition of cornmeal or flour.
Each state that enjoys the chowder has its own distinctive recipe, so you know when you are eating a “New England Style” chowder, it will be different in each part of the country.
Clam chowder benefits
Besides the obvious savory goodness, clam chowder is also a well known special dish for its health benefits. It is a great source of lean protein as well as other vitamins and minerals.
The sodium and cholesterol levels are also reduced, which may help keep your heart healthy. So, if you want to have a healthy bowl of clam chowder, here are some ways you can make it even more healthy.
One of the easiest ways to get your daily dose of Omega-3 fatty acids is to simply eat more omega-3 rich foods.
Cruciferous vegetables are a great place to start, but many people don’t realize that clams are also packed with this nutrient. One cup of clam chowder has over 100% of the recommended daily allowance of Omega-3’s.
Other health benefits:
- Great source of vitamin b12
- Keeps your blood pressure regulated
- Repairs body cells
- High level of iron
- Provides chlorine
What to serve with clam chowder
Some people think it’s easy to make a quick and delicious dinner, but in reality, it can be anything but. In order to make things a little easier, we have provided some of the best side dishes to serve with your favorite clam chowder recipes.
1. Bread Rolls
When you make delicious soup, you may think of a bowl of steamed vegetables on the side, but these days, you have a lot of options to help round out the flavor of your meal, such as bread rolls.
2. Oyster Crackers
Oysters are a little bit fish, a little bit oyster, so they are great as a starter with soups and stews, or on the half shell on their own. They also go well with chowder, which is the quintessential New England dish.
Here’s how you can make a rich, creamy soup using the most underrated shellfish, that you can serve with oyster crackers or bread.
Oyster crackers are a great savory snack for a cocktail party, office lunch or round of golf. They can be bought at any grocery store, but there are so many more types available in the snack aisle.
Some are flavored, some are smoked, some are coated with nuts and seeds, some have cheese or jam, some have a meaty meat filling and others have a buttery buttery taste.
Clam chowder is one of the quintessential New England dishes, but it is almost always served for dinner. If your family is not a fan of this hearty dish, you may have to find an alternative way of serving it for dinner.
A clam chowder salad, for instance, is a great way to serve your chowder at a meal as it is easy to make and delicious. Salads can be a great way to save a few calories, and they are also a great way to round out a full meal.
4. Roasted Veggies
When it comes to clam chowder, I have a number of favorite recipes, but I think one of the most delicious is this recipe.
For a tasty, easy appetizer, try roasted vegetables such as cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, onions and peppers.
5. Corn on the Cob
There are several different methods for cooking corn on the cob. You can either boil the corn over a high heat in an inch or so of water until the kernels are tender but not mushy.
Or you can simmer the ears in a heavy pot of unsalted stewed tomatoes. Basting the kernels occasionally with butter and salt during the cooking process is another good technique for developing a sweet and juicy corn.
The clincher for most clam chowder is a dab of fresh corn on the cob. The creamy, savory chowder is full of hearty clam meat, and the corn provides a little sweetness to balance the rich sauce. For a great summer treat, serve a big scoop of chowder with corn on the cob.
6. French Fries
You can’t go wrong with French Fries as the side dish to your dinner. Whether you’re having it with clam chowder or just dipping in, French Fries are the perfect choice.
A clam chowder is a classic chowder made with clams, potatoes, and bacon. The traditional version has chunks of bacon in it.
This recipe is easy to put together, but its pretty versatile. You can substitute a different type of bacon, or you can experiment with different types of clams.
This recipe is a great way to serve this soup on the street, because its very portable and easy to eat.
8. Cornmeal Pancakes
Clam chowder is a dish made by combining salt pork, clams, oysters, and potatoes in a large pot with water. The base will often be a combination of milk and cream to fortify the clam flavor, and a heavy cream-based sauce to add some richness to the dish.
This recipe combines corn meal with milk and a little bit of butter for a light, moist, and fluffy pancake for a nice, portable accompaniment to this rustic chowder recipe.
9. Mussels Mariniere
Many people look at clams and laugh. Many people look at mussels and laugh. However, when you are combining those two ingredients into a tasty meal, you are in for a real treat!
Mussels Mariniere is a classic French seafood dish that is typically served with a rich tomato-based sauce. However, many people feel that Mussels Mariniere is too rich and can make the dish less appealing.
In order to make the dish lighter, you can replace the white wine and tomato sauce with a light cream sauce or even a fresh parsley-based sauce.
10. Beer-Buttered Bread
Clam chowder is a classic New England comfort food, and it’s one of those dishes that are so often served with bacon and/or buttered bread. The addition of beer is also fairly common, although not all styles of clam chowder use it for the same reason.