It is unlikely that anyone tasting this clam chowder without knowing there is pumpkin in it would be able to “name that secret ingredient.” The color might not even give it away, because it only turns out to be a light peach color, reminiscent of a potato cheese soup. But without the pumpkin it just wouldn’t be the same. (click on any photo to enlarge)
The plain fact is that my original recipe, that I concocted and have been using for years, calls for carrots. I didn’t have any on this night, but I wanted make the clam chowder a more balanced main meal soup, with something more than just clams and potatoes. Happily, I remembered some pumpkin puree I had stuck in the freezer a couple of months ago. Add the dehydrated green beans to the mix, and it had good color and high nutritional value!
Here’s my ingredient list for a pot of soup that served 6-8 adults hearty amounts:
½ of a 51 ounce can of clams (because this is the size can I have been used to buying from Costco all these years for my previously large family) Half of it measures out to 2 cups, leaving another 2 cups for another batch.
½ of the juice from the can, which conveniently also measures out to very, very close to 2 cups. I put the extra from each of these in containers in the freezer. I have successfully frozen leftover tuna for years, so am hoping that clams freeze well, too. Scallops do.
9 medium potatoes, diced to about 1 inch cubes. I estimate this came to 8 cups or so.
1 ¾ cup pumpkin puree. Why 1¾ cup, you ask? Because that is the portion I froze it in to make my favorite pumpkin cookies. Turned out perfect for the chowder!
1 teaspoon of sea salt
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper (confession: I did not absolutely measure these 4 seasonings.)
1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
½ teaspoon dried basil leaves
¾ teaspoon celery seeds
1 ½ cups diced onion a couple Tablespoons olive oil (butter is also a good option)
3 cups whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup dehydrated green beans
2 ½ cups water
Saute’ the onion in the oil until tender.
Add water, seasonings, clam JUICE, potatoes, and beans (there will be enough liquid in the soup to re-hydrate the beans).
Cook at a simmer until the potatoes are tender.
Stir in pumpkin puree. I defrosted mine partially in the microwave while the potatoes were cooking. I have dumped completely frozen vegetables, such as corn or a block of grated zucchini straight into soups before. It just takes longer to heat and mix in.
Pour in the milk, cream (a higher ratio of cream to milk could be used, if desired), and CLAMS. Continue to stir regularly and heat on low to medium heat, to avoid scorching. Printable recipe for delicately pumpkin green bean clam chowder right here.
Next time, I will probably try to add some of that grated zucchini I mentioned, which I freeze for the purpose of adding to my soups and stews all winter long.
The delicately pumpkin green bean clam chowder was a hit with everyone. The pumpkin gave it a subtle sweet savory flavor. The green beans came back to life so that they seemed never to have been dehydrated. The vacuum sealing keeps them fresh and can be easily re-done if I don’t use the whole jar.
The soup had one other preserved garden ingredient in it. The onion was from my garden and was frozen diced, which made preparation even easier. I have some dehydrated onions, too, which I have been using, like in this tomato soup, but I wanted to try the frozen ones this time. Since I have been trying some different methods of food storage this year, it has been a bit of a challenge to modify my recipes to accommodate this, but the results of this soup have encouraged me. Maybe I’ll get my potatoes dug yet, and use them next time I make it. Rich, you are going to want to try this!