Our next stop on the 50 states, 50 recipes tour is;
Rhode Island: http://www.50states.com/rdisland.htm
State capital: Providence
Largest City: Providence
Admission to the Union: May 4th, 1776, the first to declare independence the last to ratify the United States Constitution on May 29th, 1790
Health services are Rhode Island’s largest industry. Second is tourism, supporting 39,000 jobs, with tourism-related sales at $3.26 billion in the year 2000. The third-largest industry is manufacturing. Its industrial outputs are costume jewelry, fabricated metal products, electrical equipment, machinery, shipbuilding and boatbuilding. Rhode Island’s agricultural outputs are nursery stock, vegetables, dairy products and eggs. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rhode_Island)
In my search for all things Rhode Island I discovered these sites that tell all about tourism- the second biggest industries in the state;
There are a lot of foods that are unique to Rhode Island. The list includes Italian grinders, johnny cakes (a dish similar to pancakes), zeppolas (a cream filled donut eaten on St. Joseph’s day) and french fries with vinegar something I picked up from a Rhode Islander and enjoy the most. The dish that most remarkably spoke to me of the history and culture of our first State is clam chowder. In Rhode Island the chowder is made 3 different ways- the version I found is considered a white chowder recommended by the former governor of Rhode Island himself. Another version is considered a red chowder- where tomatoes replace the milk and cream, and the third version is a clear soup favored by Rhode Island’s Portuguese immigrants. As Rhode Island is our smallest state, I didn’t spend much time there… this recipe was so easy and quick to make that it seemed I virtually drove through the state of Rhode Island at breakneck speed!
From the Honorable Lincoln Almond- former Governor of Rhode Island-
1/2 cup diced onion
1/2 cup diced celery
2 Tablespoons melted butter
8 ounces RI Quahogs, chopped (liquid reserved)
3 cups chicken broth
1 cup clam juice
1 cup peeled and coarsely chopped potatoes
1/4 cup melted butter
1/2 cup flour
1 cup milk
1 cup Half & Half or heavy cream
Dash white pepper
In a 3-quart saucepan, saute onion and celery in 2 Tablespoons butter until transparent. Add liquid from clams, clam juice, chicken broth and potatoes. Simmer until potatoes are tender.
In a separate pan, add 1/4 cup butter. Stir in flour mixture. Mix until smooth. Do not brown. Gently stir flour mixture into soup. Add clams, milk and half & half or cream. Stir gently until thickened. Add seasonings. Stir and enjoy! (http://www.virtualcities.com/ons/ri/gov/rigov90.htm)
I knew when I started this recipe that it would be one I couldn’t enjoy with everyone- I’m lactose intolerant and couldn’t have the excess of milk and cream this recipe called for, not to mention I don’t care for clams. In order to make this recipe I had to rely on someone who calls himself a clam chowder (pronounced clam chow-dare) expert… enter SGM Martha! I have never had clam chow-dare, I never want to have clam chow-dare and this was no exception. Just as there are probably states in our great union some of us have no desire to visit, I wasn’t looking forward to eating clam chow-dare; so I had to rely on my expert and panel of tasters from the local fire department to confirm it’s tastiness… I’m told it was delicious!
This recipe was so easy to find ingredients for I was worried I might have missed something. Aside from the clams, clam juice and heavy cream, I had pretty much everything needed for the recipe in my cupboard already. I couldn’t find Quahogs so I settled for canned clams rather than fresh given that I needed the liquid from the clams for the recipe. I chose to use red potatoes with the skins on just to add a little color to it, and I’m told it added a little more texture as well.
I was surprised at how quickly this recipe cooked… aside from waiting for the potatoes to get soft, the whole recipe took less than an hour. I’m told that you could travel across the entire state of Rhode Island in that amount of time as well!
flour and butter mixture made in separate pan
Review: scale of 1-5 stars; the more stars the better
Ease of preparation: ***** if you can do more than boil water you can make this!
Cost of ingredients: *****All the ingredients are inexpensive and easy to find
Taste: ***** according to the taste testing panel of St. Helen’s Fire Department and SGM Martha it was delicious, had a great texture, taste and color… those boys know their chow-dare!
Nutrition: *** the butter and heavy cream take the nutrition value down a bit, but otherwise pretty healthy and all natural.
It took no time at all to get the ingredients, combine them and make what I’ve been told is a great clam chow-dare! I wish I could say that I enjoyed it as well, but given the health restrictions I couldn’t even tell you if it was warm. No offense to Rhode Island, but I’ll have to try one of their other famous dishes when next I travel through the state! Next week we’re off to Connecticut for a Connecticut supper. So until next week- May all your journeys be safe and your eats be good!
St. Helen’s Fire and Rescue taste testers!