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Dec 27, 2009 01:24 PM

New England Clam Chowder anyone?

I have a craving for a New England Clam Chowder I made a few years back. I remember it had a can of (sweet butterie syrupie) stuff. Its sold in the same aisle as evaperated milk and in the same kind of can, its also VERY fattening!
Does anyone have any idea what I'm talking about? And, if I'm lucky, and you do, do you have a receipe using it in a clam chowder???? Thank you so much!!

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  1. are you referring to sweetended condensed milk?

    1 Reply
    1. This is a funny example of regional foods out tof the region. Dear Odatlynn, if a Mainer put sweetened condensed milk into chowder, they might get exiled to a life sentence in the New York Yankee's Stadium. If you came here and saw what passed for St Louis ribs, you'd say, "Wassamatta wit deese people?"
      Try cream, not sweetened condensed milk for a more "authentic chowdah", and you may be very pleasantly surprised.
      Merry Christmas from Maine!

      6 Replies
      1. re: Passadumkeg

        thanks passa.... when i first read this thread i literally asked myself, what does sweetened condensed milk have to do with chowder??? to me, it as an anathema to good chowder.... which i make homemade every xmas eve, as my subsititute for the polish fish stew

        1. re: kubasd

          I had roast lamb as a substitute for my kolbasa and kapusta. Chowder is a week day regular. Funny, we take tit to work and hear the sons and daughters of fishermen complain that the room smells of fish! Perfume to me. A little dab of eau de King Oscar behind the ears?

        2. All three are popular in Connecticut too, as are both the Yankees and Red Sox (and Babe Ruth was no defector). The most popular kind on the coast has only a very small amount of milk added (arguably a fourth, distinct version of chowder), and the plain old clear kind is common on the easternmost part of the coast. The creamy, thickened kind is mostly found inland, at tourist traps, and on the westernmost part of the coast.
          I've heard claims in Azorean communities that they invented Manhattan clam chowder, which makes perfect sense since it's essentialy just Portuguese fish stew with all the other kinds of fish stripped out. It's still popular, and delicious, wherever you find Portuguese spoken in New England (mostly along the coast from New London to Provincetown).
          Personally, I like any version that actually tastes like clams, which red chowder does when made right, clear chowder always does, and my favorite is with just a little milk. Thick chowders usually have only a subtle clam flavor. I loved them when I was a kid, before I actually liked clams.

          1. re: Passadumkeg

            Okay..Okay...Aahhhhhahhhaaah! My bad, as the kids say. So you think I should use cream? Nobody's ever heard of making chowder with SCM?

            1. re: odatlynn

              Believe me No one in New England, who grew up in New England, uses sweetened condensed milk in clam chowder..... Gag me with a clam shell why dontcha.

              1. re: odatlynn

                ^^^^^What she said! ;) I PROMISE you, you won't be making chowder with SCM. Clam pudding or custard (!!!), maybe, but not chowder. All of us Yankees/New Englanders wouldn't steer you wrong.

            2. sweetened condensed milk in chowder does indeed sound wrong on so many levels, at least to my new england sensibilities! (wrong consistency, and definitely too sweet!)
              I know that chowder styles and recipes are enough to start a war, but when friends from other places ask me what I consider an "authentic" new england chowder style, I usually refer them to the following recipe, which provides a nice introduction to a barely-thickened and fairly clam-rich version of the soup. You can also easily make a third of a recipe to feed two (generously) for lunch:


              (I generally omit the pepper sauce, and use even less flour than it calls for)

              1. I can't imagine clam chowder with sweetened condensed milk. Actually, I don't make it with cream because of the fat content, but I have a remedy that works pretty well. I saute onions in a little butter, add diced potatoes and the liquid from canned clams, cook until the potatoes are done, then add the canned clams and 2% milk. When it's almost at the boiling point I add a little instant mashed potato to thicken the chowder slightly to give a mouth-feel to it. And I have been known to add any combination of fresh shrimp or scallops, or (canned) oysters, or all of the above, to make a more protein-loaded seafood chowder. It freezes just fine.

                1. if it tastes good just eat it .

                  8 Replies
                  1. re: howlin

                    You probably can't imagine chowder with SWEETENED condensed milk. Neither can I. That's syrupy and caramelized unlike unsweetemned evaporated milk which is not. A few years ago my friend from Mt Desert Island gave me a recipe for clam chowder. Her housekeeper had been cook for an old Maine family and this was their coveted recipe. I got halfway through it and was shocked to see it called for no cream, no half and half, but EVAPORATED milk! My philosophy is first to make a recipe how it is written. Period. Find the baseline, then if it;s worthy make your adjustments. I was actually pretty shocked and amazed. When I asked my friend it totally made sense. Mt Desert being and Island and warm for about 15 minutes a year fresh cream is not always available so local cooks rely on pantry items.. So don't be a hater. Keep an open mind. I still make that chowder excatly the way it was given to me and it rocks. Basically fresh clams, fatback or salt pork (not bacon) potatoes carrots bay leaf and EVAPORATED MILK .

                    1. re: i4details

                      There used to be 3 operating dairies on MDI until the sixties; 3 sardine canneries too.
                      There are great cooks and there are good cooks and ....

                      1. re: i4details

                        was this really for me?hater ?whos a hater ?whats more open minded then "if it tastes good eat it?

                        1. re: howlin

                          I'm a born New Englander and I have always used evaporated milk in my chowders. That's the most authentic and old style way of making it. The fisherman of olden times used to keep cans of evaporated milk and potatoes on board for a delicious out to sea meal. The thick chowders you find in most tourist restaurants are made with flour and cream and I don't find them as good.

                          By the way, anybody out there who is familiar with Mt. Desert Island remember the Chowder Powder sold in small jars in Southwest Harbor in the late seventies? The place is now closed and I would love to find out what the ingredients were. The old empty jar I l have somewhere did not list the ingredients and that seasoning has been haunting me for years. I think the company was a seafood distributor. It was a mixture of herbs and something else. I think it had thyme in it, which I still use, but I just can't get that same taste.

                          1. re: howlin

                            Nopoo, I think I can find out about Chowder Power this summer when I return to the MDI area, where I have lived for 20 years.
                            Evaporated milk is authentic for the reason you state.
                            John Thorne, used to live in the MDI area fro quite a while. In, I think, Simple Cooking, he has a chapter about clam chowder. I think it was there that I read that tomatoes were first canned in Eastport, Me in the middle of the 19th century and he cites a tomato based New England clam chowder from a Boston cook book in 1858. Chaw on that a while, folks.
                            I can't stand thick and pasty Chowder either.

                            1. re: Passadumkeg

                              Thanks Pass. What a great place MDI is. Wow, a N.E. based clam chowder with tomatoes. So much for that.

                              1. re: noodlepoodle

                                I work summers as a sea kayak guide, email me if in the area. Look my photos for some shots of the area.