September 25, 2014

New England Clam Chowder and Cheddar Biscuits with Old Bay Seasoning

It has been a cool, rainy Fall day today. Typically, (yes I do get pretty involved in my menu planning), I look ahead at the weather forecast and plan a comfort meal for rainy days. Tonight's dinner is a perfect, cozy example.

I based my New England Clam Chowder recipe off of several that I found online and tweaked a bit to fit my tastes and cooking preferences.

I found several recipes that called for bacon- something that I didn't choose to include this time around. I did choose to cook with canned clams rather than fresh, since I know that the canned clams are always available, and are quick and easy to use. I also chose to use dried herbs as opposed to fresh- due to availability, (I know that I'll always have dried herbs in my pantry no matter what season or what the grocery store has that looks good), and to be more budget friendly.

The end result was a creamy, light, flavorful clam chowder that warmed me up and satisfied my seafood craving. (And, not to brag, but Mr. Terrible Twos loved and devoured his whole bowl!). Paired with a simple green salad and moist cheddar Old Bay biscuits, it was definitely a meal that I will make and thoroughly enjoy again!

New England Clam Chowder
Serves about 8- Main dish servings

4- 6.5oz cans chopped clams, undrained
2- 8oz. bottles of clam juice
1 tbsp. unsalted butter
1 cup chopped onion, (about one medium)
1 cup chopped celery, (about three stalks)
1 garlic clove, minced
3 cups unpeeled, cubed red potato
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1 1/2 tsp. dried parsley
1 bay leaf
2 cups low fat milk, brought to almost room temp
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup half-and-half

Open clams, strain clam liquid into bowl and set aside.
Melt butter in heavy-bottomed pot/Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion, celery, and garlic to pot and saute until tender. Add clam liquid and bottled clam juice, potato, and seasonings. Bring mixture to boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer until potato is tender- about 15 minutes.
Whisk together milk and flour, stirring until smooth. Add mixture to pot. Stir in clams and half-and-half. Simmer 5 minutes. Discard bay leaf and serve.

Now, for the biscuits... meant to imitate Red Lobster's famous biscuits, the Bisquick Cheddar Biscuits with Old Bay Seasoning were delicious, and a perfect partner for my clam chowder. I have recently become a huge fan of Bisquick, (thanks to repeated requests for pancakes of all kinds, and the need to make them on a toddler's timeline), and these biscuits definitely further my love for the mix. I encourage everyone to try them, and enjoy!!

Cheddar Biscuits with Old Bay Seasoning
Makes 8  large, melt in your mouth biscuits

1/3 cup butter, melted
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp Old Bay seasoning
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp parsley flakes
2 cups Bisquick mix
3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Heat oven to 425 degrees.
In a small bowl, stir together topping ingredients, set aside.
In medium bowl, stir biscuit ingredients until soft dough forms. Drop dough by 8 spoonfuls onto ungreased baking sheet.
Bake 16-18 minutes or until biscuits are golden brown*. Immediately brush hot biscuits with topping. Serve warm.

*Notes on this recipe: "Spoonfuls" is generous! I used a serving spoon in order to scoop just 8 biscuits. My biscuits took only about 14 minutes to bake and become golden. The amount of butter used for the topping seems excessive, but it is worth every bit! There are healthier versions of these biscuits, using the Heart Smart Bisquick mix, nonfat milk, etc.

I am not receiving any payment or recognition from Betty Crocker/Bisquick or from Old Bay/McCormick & Company for reviewing this recipe or using their products. 

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