Sunday, January 15, 2012

Leftover Culinary Student Clam Chowder

My plan for feeding myself through culinary school was simple: family meal at school, leftovers from class and tuna fish sandwiches. I've done pretty well thus far but it turns out that I've had to change my plans somewhat since it looks like I could pretty mich live off of the bread left out from the bread making class. I've also been eating my homework. Julienned carrots, macedoined turnips or most recently: potatoes cocotte. When our chefs gave us the option of taking home some fish veloute sauce, I thought that I had just about everything to make some clam chowder. And I was right- All I had to buy was, well- the clams. 

Just some regular ol' sliced celery and carrots. Can you spot the cocotte potatoes? Swimming in their starchy water

Have I mentioned that I don't have a place to live yet? Or a job? Yeah- shit has been real round these parts but it's all good. Things are going to work out because- as the career services lady at school said: well, they just have to work out. Chowder is certainly a comfort food but for me it's also the soup that my mom made for Thanksgiving every year in France. She would have my dad bring back a few cans of clam chowder from the States and would doctor them up and serve it in a beautiful stoneware tureen. For years I had no idea that she didn't make this soup from scratch. I was shocked. But sometimes you have to make do with what you have or if you can't get what you want, you have to improvise. This is my improvised and indeed very comforting clam chowder. 

I'm sure I don't have to tell you that I didn't have a soup tureen in which to serve this, right? Ah well, I'll have time for that once I move into my own place. 

Almost perfect cocotte! Just another 50 or so potato and I should get it

Leftover Culinary Student Clam Chowder
This recipe is clearly not for everyone as you probably don't have leftover fish veloute lying around. To make it at home, buy 2 cans of clams and use the juice from both cans and adjust with cream or milk as needed. You can also add the clams from both cans instead of just one. If you don't feel like learning to cocotte a potato, just peel and dice 2 potatoes into roughly the same size. 

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 shallots, minced
  • 3 stalks of celery, sliced
  • 2 carrots, sliced
  • 4 cups fish veloute
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 10oz can of clams in their juices
  • 12 cocotte potatoes (or 2 potatoes peeled and diced)
  • Salt + Pepper
In a dutch oven or medium-low heat, melt the butter. Add the shallots and slowly sauté until translucent. Add the carrots and celery and continue to cook slowly until tender. Add the fish veloute, heavy and the juice of the clams. Stir to combine and adjust with more cream, milk or clam juice as needed. Add the potatoes and slowly simmer until the potatoes are tender. Add the clams and heat through. Season the soup with salt and pepper. Enjoy with some crusty bread. 


  1. Please keep these stories going from school, never knew anyone to go to a French Culinary School! Your potatoes look amazing! I'm looking forward to the day you cook a meal for Mike and me!!

  2. Nell- I will try my best to keep up with the posts!

    Culinary Collage- Thanks! It tasted pretty good too!

  3. Clam Chowder is such a better idea than I've had. All my cocotte scraps have become potato-turnip mash & all my talliage practice goes into a l'etuvee...I so haven't had the patience to be creative-