Drunkin' Clam Chowder
This evening, I made the best Chowder I have ever eaten... I'm blogging the recipe before I forget what I did... although.. I have to say, what I am documenting are approximations... You may or may not want to alter proportions to suit your own tastes... or add more veggies, or more fish... It is solely up to you.. Surely, the Soup Police won't be by to arrest you, if you switch things out... THAT , my Friends, is the beauty of Soup!
In a large pot, simmer 1 cup chopped Celery, 1/2 cup chopped Onion, 1-2 tblsp. finely chopped Garlic ( to taste) , 1 tblsp. Fennel Seed in approx. 1/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Simmer until the vegetables are translucent.
Meanwhile, Place Fresh Littleneck Clams into a cool bath for about 15 minutes. This removes any 'sand' that might remain in the clams. Discard the 'bath water'. Place the clams in another cool water bath. To this, add 1/4 cup of Bourbon. ( I used Jim Beam Devil's Cut)
Once Veggies are translucent, to this, add 8 oz. Clam juice, 1 cup of finely diced Clams ( use canned if you want to keep your sanity :/ ) 28 oz. can of Crushed Tomatoes, Filet of fresh Fish ( I used Tilapia. You can use whatever fish you prefer, amt. to your preference; I used only 1 filet) 1 cup of Fresh Diced Carrots, 1 cup of Fresh Baby Spinach Leaves ( stems removed) , 1 shot glass of Bourbon, 1 tblsp. Dried Basil, 1 tsp. Sea Salt, Cracked Black Pepper to taste. Add in 2-3 cups of water ( use your judgement, depending on how thick the broth is). Simmer this on medium heat until you have a light rolling boil, carrots are becoming al Dente, and Spinach leaves are wilted.
Drain the Clams and add to the Chowder. Continue to cook on medium heat until the clam shells open and the clams are cooked thru.
Serve with a crusty Baguette for dipping into the Chowder. I paired this with a spicy Spanish Tempranillo, Vega Moragona . Enjoy!