Since I'm from Boston, "chowdah" is one of my favorite things to make. I gave this classic New England dish a special spin with smoky bacon and spiced oyster crackers.
For the chowder:1.
Melt butter in large, heavy pot over medium heat. Add bacon and cook until it begins to brown, about 8 minutes. Add vegetables, cayenne, thyme and bay leaf and sauté until vegetables soften, about 6 minutes.2.
Stir in flour and cook 2 minutes (do not allow flour to brown). Gradually whisk in anise liqueur and clam juice. Add clam meat and potatoes and simmer chowder 10-15 minutes to blend flavors, stirring frequently. Finish with fresh herbs.3.
Cool chowder base until ready top use. When you are ready to use, heat with enough heavy cream until desired consistency and re-season if necessary.
For the spiced oyster crackers:1.
Preheat oven to 350°F.2.
Mix butter and Old Bay seasoning in a small dish. Place crackers in a medium-sized bowl and add the butter mixture. Toss until all crackers are coated.3.
Spread the crackers on a baking sheet and place in the oven. Bake for 5-8 minutes. Remove from oven, let cool.
Serve chowder in bowls garnished with bacon bits, spiced oyster crackers and chopped tarragon.