My dad makes this outrageous clam chowder that people will literally put in requests for. Sometimes in the winter my mom and dad will host an oyster roast at their house and my dad will steam oysters under a wet towel on the grill outside and we’ll stand around shucking them over plywood laid out on saw horses with big steaming bowls of this chowder. It is really culinary perfection – exactly the way I love to eat and experience food.
The chowder that he makes isn’t thick and creamy like up north, this is what we call “Hatteras Style” clam chowder and it’s really more of a soup than a chowder. It’s brothy, chunky and extremely peppery. For the longest time I assumed it was some sort of complicated recipe that I didn’t want to take on, until one night when I was pining for it, he said nonchalantly, “all you need is a can of clams and some potatoes.” What?? Seriously??
Anyways, the simplicity of this recipe doesn’t make it any less amazing. Much like me, my dad doesn’t cook to a precise recipe, so these amounts were estimated by me until it looked and tasted similar to his. I will say, just when you think you’ve added enough pepper, add some more.
Bob’s Clam Chowder, Hatteras Style
3 stalks of celery, diced
1 medium onion, diced
2 tbs butter
4 medium red potatoes, diced
2 small cans of chopped clams or 1 large can (depends on where you go – most grocery stores just carry the small, tuna can sized ones)
salt, pepper and parsley to taste
Melt the butter in a large stock pot and add the onions and celery and saute until soft
Add the potatoes, add salt and pepper and stir well
Add both cans of clams – WITH juice, stir well
Add 3 cups of water (or more depending on how brothy you want it)
Bring to a boil, then down to a simmer for 15 minutes or until potatoes are easily pierced with a fork.
Add more salt and pepper to taste. Serve steaming hot with oyster crackers
This recipe makes about four hearty bowls. Double for more or triple for a crowd. At some stores you’ll be able to find the huge cans of chopped clams, which is probably worthwhile if you’re cooking for a small army.
Soup is the secret to life because it’s simple, hearty, enjoyable, shareable, saveable, warming, nurturing. Nobody ever wrote Chicken Satay for the Soul and nobody ever will. The secret to life is something that is easy to make, something that can be done while you live your actual life, something that can bring people together and then when enjoyed later can bring them right back to that same place.
Soup is particularly great this time of year because it can be a breeze to make for a big crowd, then you save your left overs for when you’re too busy to cook one night (you know, like, every night until January). This soup is one of my favorites that I’ve been making for years because it is SO SO simple, low-cal/fat and stores really well. You could even make big batches, freeze, then thaw as needed.
So make this soup so you can stop standing over the stove, worrying about what you’re making/missing/buying/gifting/planning/doing and just go sit by the fire or the tree or someone you love and share some soup.
Stupid Simple Salsa and Black Bean Soup
1 can of black beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup of salsa
1 cup of vegetable or chicken broth
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder
salt, pepper and cayenne pepper, to taste
Optional toppings: plain Greek yogurt, cilantro, chopped onions, sliced green onions or chives
Combine the beans, salsa and broth in a blender and pulse until smooth, or put all the ingredients it a stock pot and blend with an immersion blender.
Add the spices to taste and allow soup to warm to a simmer.
Reduce heat and let warm on the stove top for 20-30 minutes to let the flavors combine.