We've had a few Winter Wonderland menus in the last couple of years, and this one did not disappoint! I absolutely love the idea of trying to come up with foods that not only deliver flavor that resounds comfort for chilly winter nights, but that reflect same in appearance as well. After all, we eat with our eyes first, right? Well, to be completely honest, I eat with my eyes first for about ten seconds. THEN I eat with muh mouth!! This particular night, we had some friends and partners of Life As She Does It, talking give-aways for the blog. So I had no choice but to get them food-drunk so they would feel more "giving"! for You, Dear Readers, to have wonderful give-aways. We dined on a most-gorgeous cheese tray and artichoke-spinach crostini, a hearty salad of cranberries, candied nuts, and Gorgonzola cheese, slow-cooked clam chowder with fresh clams, Cornish game hens with decadent potatoes and zucchini-squash ratatouille, and a GORGEOUS white cake (pronounced whhhhhhhhat-cake, emphasis on the ha-part of the h).
The recipe below is for the clam chowder, with all it's snow-white glory and ocean-goodness. It was not only creamy and wonderland-wonderful (sorry, I HAD to go there), it is LOW-CARB. It was BEYOND...... Or, as The Daughts says: "I. Can't. EVEN." Wanna make someone special in your life food-drunk and made to feel warm and fuzzy for chilly nights? DO THIS.
WINTER CLAM CHOWDER
6 strips bacon, cooked and chopped fine
1 onion, chopped fine
2 cloves garlic, chopped fine
2 large turnips, peeled and chopped into chunks
3 sprigs rosemary, chopped fine
2 bunches thyme, tied with butcher's twine
4 cans diced or chopped clams
2 jars clam juice
4 cups vegetable or chicken broth
1 can cannellini or navy beans, blended
2 bay leaves
2 tbs butter
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tsp sea salt
2 tbs white pepper
1 tbs garlic powder
Throw all ingredients into a crock-pot and let cook on low all day. Remove thyme twigs and bay leaves. Serve. THAT'S IT!!
NOTES: Remember that slow cooking can mute flavors, so be certain to add more of your spices to taste at the end and stir. I simmered fresh clams in white wine and butter in a pan on the stove, and then added them to everyone's bowls just before serving. We simply ladled the soup over them for a more authentic look and flavor. It was authentically AWESOME!!