Grilled Corn & Clam Chowder

by Gavan on August 12, 2009

Clam and Grilled Corn Chowder

Week 2 of Spice Month: Time for Thyme!

Would you believe dried thyme inched out turmeric for this weeks Spice month recipe?! I was surprised but for those looking for some turmeric inspiration, you’re up next week.

Nutritionally speaking, thyme is a nutrient dense herb. Just two teaspoons of dried thyme is an excellent source for vitamin K, iron, maganese (important for the production of breast milk and sex hormones) and is a good source for calcium & fiber. As a tea, thyme has beneficial results in gastrointestinal problems by acting as a digestive aid AND its been known to relieve hangovers. (Why am I just finding this out now?) Turns out insects don’t like thyme so planting some in your garden can help keep the insect population down. That said, I just found a natural repellent made with thyme so I’ll let you know how that works out.

Good to note, dried herbs are one of those things in your spice rack that need to be kept for only a short period of time unlike some other spices, which can be kept for up to 1 year. I would change them out every six months so you can get some flavor from them otherwise they just end up tasting like grass. That might work if you’re a cow but not for cooking me thinks. You can certainly use fresh herbs for dried or vice versa–just use this conversion: 1 tbsp fresh = 1 tsp dried.

Chowders are usually made from a roux but in this case I substituted the butter for canola oil because canola oil is not only low in saturated fat but it’s high in monounsaturated fat — a good thing! Monounsaturated fats benefit heart health. I’m not a fan of cream and/or butter in my cooking and to be honest I don’t eat them either but I do love chowder so this is my version of a healthy, no cream or butter version.

RECIPE:

Steaming Clams:

30 Littleneck clams (5.5 lbs)
1 cup white wine
1 tbsp dried thyme

Chowder Ingredients:
4 tbsp canola oil
1 cup white onion – fine dice
2 cloves garlic – minced
1 cup leeks – whites only – thinly sliced, washed
1 cup celery – fine dice, washed
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
4 cups fat-free milk
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth

3 ears of corn in the husks – Soak the ears in water for at least 2 hours (up to 4) and throw on a preheated grill. Cook for 20 minutes until husks are charred. Yields:  3 1/2 cups kernels, approx.

Grilled Corn

NOTE: By soaking the husks first it prevents them from going up in flames. The corn kernels will steam inside the husks.

1 1/2 tbsp thyme
2 bay leaves
2 cups yams – peeled, cubed

Garnish:
1 cup fresh tomato – diced
1/4 cup fresh basil – chiffonade
3 tbsp fresh chives – fine chop
I made a handy video about chopping herbs, have a look.

DIRECTIONS:Steamed Clams
To cook clams: Preheat a large saucepan for 30 seconds. Add clams, wine and thyme. Cover. Cook over high heat until all the shells are open
about 3-4 minutes. Strain clams into a colander over a large bowl retaining clam liquid. Set aside.

NOTE: Because of the large clam shells steam them in 2 batches as I did. Even if they all fit into your pot you must leave room for the shells to open when steamed.

To cook Chowder: Preheat soup pot on medium low heat for 1 minute. Add canola oil. Add onion, garlic, leek, celery, bay leaf and thyme and saute for 5-6 minutes until softened.

Add flour and whisk continuously for 2 minutes.
Add broth, clam juice, milk and bring to a boil, whisking.

When corn is cooked remove husks and discard. Cut kernels from cobs and place cobs in soup pot along with soup mixture.

Making Corn & Clam Chowder
NOTE:
DO NOT BOIL.

Add diced yams and corn kernels. Simmer chowder on medium low heat, partially covered for 20 minutes.

To Finish: Add diced fresh tomatoes, chives and  basil.

Clam & Grilled Corn Chowder

Enjoy!

Other healthy chowders also featured:

Jalapeno Corn Chowder

Chicken and Sweet Potato Chowder

Lobster and Corn Chowder

All recipes are made with the finest quality farmers market whole foods, natural and non-processed ingredients as much as possible.

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

DEM August 12, 2009 at 4:03 pm

I thought Thyme was an herb not a spice.

Gavan Murphy aka the H.I. August 12, 2009 at 4:23 pm

This is very true Dem. A herb not a spice however the whole Spice Month is about those endless rows of jars full of stuff we don’t know how to use that are in your spice rack. Dried herbs are part n parcel of that. Have you voted for yours? Tumeric’s up next week.

Sheila | Live Well 360° August 12, 2009 at 8:00 pm

Mm…. We’ve never tried to make clams at home. The chowder looks so deliciously rich but not. I so want to try it. Ryan might take some convincing… but I will tell him that Gavan made it, and then it will be cool. 😉

Bryan - oz4caster November 22, 2009 at 8:02 pm

Seafood is one of the healthiest foods. People have been eating it for hundreds of thousands of years. I like most of the other ingredients here, but two don’t stand up to the test of time. How long have people been eating rape seed oil (canola) or fat-free milk? I’d much rather go with the traditional butter and cream that have been eaten for many thousands of years. Don’t follow the fat follies driven by bad “science”. I love my saturated fat 🙂

Gavan Murphy aka the H.I. November 24, 2009 at 8:55 pm

Good for you mate. I prefer a different approach, which I believe is healthier. Try it this way–you might surprise yourself! Thanks for the feedback. Cheers”

Gavan Murphy aka the H.I. January 15, 2010 at 3:40 pm

I’m with you about the seafood. We’ve been surviving on it since day 1. We’re not in the same boat though re: the saturated fats. I see where you’re coming from with eating natural foods like butter and cream and this is how I learned my trade so I’ve experienced both methods. I just prefer to limit my intake of sat. fats and I don’t think I’m alone.
Appreciate the input Bryan.

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