Friday, August 26, 2005

St. Augustine Minorcan Style Clam Chowder Recipe

At the risk of being hunted down and getting a good thrashing for sharing secret Minorcan recipes, I have decided to share a Minorcan Clam Chowder recipe. I confess to "adjusting recipes" to my liking, but this one is a pretty good version of the native St. Augustine chowder.

1/8 pound salt pork or smoked bacon chopped fine
2 large onions chopped
1 bell pepper chopped
2 cups fresh clams, chopped fine, juice reserved
1-2 datil peppers, minced
3 cups canned plum tomatoes drained, seeded, and chopped
1/2 cup tomato puree
1/2 tablespoon thyme, crumbled
1/2 tablespoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1-2 bay leaves crushed
2- 8 ounce bottles clam juice
3 cups fish stock
2 cups new potatoes, diced

Saute pork in large pot over medium heat until fat is rendered. Remove pork and set aside. Add onions, bell pepper, and cook until softened. Add clams, reserved clam juice, datil peppers, tomatoes, tomato puree, seasonings, clam juice, fish stock, and reserved pork. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer one hour. Add potatoes and cook 30-45 minutes more. Add additional stock or clam juice if too thick.

This is from one of our St. Augustine eateries known for good chowder.

My own plan is similar. Instead of fish stock, I try to use fresh Cedar Key Sweets farm raised clams. I steam them and reserve the steaming broth to add to the chowder.
Since farm raised clams are bite size anyway, I don't chop 'em up.

I also don't eat it the same day unless it has got a chance to simmer all day, not the short time in the recipe above. I prefer to let it sit in the fridge over night and then eat it the next day.

Your problem is going to be finding a datil pepper. They are in the habanero (meaning from Havana) family, but not the same thing. Whatever pepper you substitute may be good, but ain't Minorcan without a datil in it!


R.Powers said...

Ours don't get as big as your "gooey ducks" :)

Karen Schmautz said...

Oh my goodness! I haven't been by here in a couple of days because I had the flu and look what I missed. Yum! I can't wait to try it. I doubt I will find the datil in this area, though.

R.Powers said...

Hope you are feeling better. This chowder will fix you up!

Anonymous said...

I hope this is the same recipe you share with us at the family reunions.I hope to try it soon

R.Powers said...

This is the Conch House recipe and it's basically the same.

Anonymous said...

This recipe is the main reason I grow a Datil bush every year.

critterfxr said...

this is a great site for the few of us native floridians left! i just happened to fine it today-great job!

Jen said...

I've never had the Conch House recipe, but I love O'Steens version. Is this one similar?

Anonymous said...

I would also add a couple of cloves of minced garlic . Thanks for the reciepe.

Anonymous said...

Howdy! I live north of Atlanta, but St. Augustine is a second home to me. I just got back yesterday and miss it already! I also keep datil plants and am curious if it is better to use the young green peppers or the riper orange. The orange seems tough to me. Thank you!!!

Anonymous said...

I have been making this recipe for years, and it works. I normally add some datil pepper sauce to the mix.