A winning clam chowder recipe with a flavorful twist from herbs de Provence. Featured on Huffington Post’s Kitchen Daily’s article on New England Clam Chowder: What’s the Best Recipe?
One drizzly afternoon in December I joined several bloggers from OC Family and the Orange County Register at the Someone Cares Soup Kitchen in Costa Mesa. We were there to volunteer and learn about how this neighborhood soup kitchen has supported their community and share the inspiration of one woman, Merle Hatleberg, who, in 1986 made her first “pot of soup” to feed about 30 people and has since grown to serve over 400 folks a daily hot, nourishing meal. Then as now, many of these hungry people were families with school aged children.
Even in these hard times, December is a huge month for giving and we were helping to spread the word about the “$50K in 50 Days” campaign created by Corey Donaldson to provide backpacks filled with basic essentials, toys for a 1,000 children, and a holiday dinner with all the trimmings for 1,200 people.
Since then the soup kitchen has undergone a remodel with the help of donated time of local contractors and thousands of dollars from generous donors. Last Sunday, I stopped by to chat and pick up their new book of recipes which was at print in December. For centuries soups have fed the souls and bodies of those that are homeless and hungry and the SCSK contains recipes from their community of supporters. Plus, once I heard that the soup kitchen’s own Chef Lorrie’s New England Clam Chowder won first place in the Annual San Clemente Seafest 2010 Chowder Cookoff, I knew it would be the perfect recipe to share.
My ulterior motive also being to urge you to find a soup kitchen in your area to support. And if you live in Orange County, to spare the cost of a few lattes to help feed the hungry at Someone Cares Soup Kitchen or the Rescue Mission in Santa Ana. Need continues after the holidays and throughout the year.
- 5 oz. canned clams with juice
- 2 ½ cups water
- 1 cup half and half*
- 2 cups peeled white potatoes cut into ½ inch cubes
- ½ cup carrots finely diced
- ½ cup onions finely diced
- ½ cup celery finely diced
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 2 oz. bacon cut into strips*
- 1 tsp. Herbs de Provence*
- 1 tablespoon freshly chopped parsley
- sea salt to taste
Cook bacon strips over med-high heat, until browned and crisp. Drain all but 1 tablespoon of the bacon drippings. Add butter and sauté onion for about 2 minutes. Add the garlic, stir and cook for another minute. Add the celery and carrots and sauté for 5 minutes. Add water and herbs and simmer for 30 minutes until potatoes are tender. Add clams and half and half and simmer for ten more minutes.
Recipe adapted from Chef Lorrie Sanchez's recipe from SCSK Favorite Recipes the 2010 Winner San Clemente Seafest Chowder Cookoff
*I used half and half instead of heavy cream out of preference for a lighter, brothy soup and three strips of applewood smoked bacon. Chopping the dried herbs de Provence with the fresh parsley enlivens the flavors.
Someone Cares Soup Kitchen and Tutoring Program Impact:
Currently serving 400 guests per day, 7 days per week:
-25 % are families with school aged children
-30% are the homeless
-20% are the working poor or unemployed
-10% are the mentally or physically challenged
-15% are senior citizens
Meals are served Monday through Friday from 1:00 – 4:00 p.m. and a pancake breakfast is served every Saturday and Sunday mornings.
The after school tutoring program began in October, 2001 and currently offers tutoring to 45 children in grades K-3. With a full-time staff of three school teachers, each student receives four hours of individual instruction. Open Monday – Thursday from 2:30 to 6:00 p.m.