Which wines go best with Clam Chowder?

Which wines go best with Clam Chowder?

Most of us think of hearty wines with soups or stews because their meat and texture is appetizingly rich from slow cooking. These winter warmers often work, but you might also consider other ingredients.

Spices, herbs and tomatoes add tangy notes that may call for wines with good acidity, while vegetables such as onions, carrots and squash add an element of sweetness and so wines with more rounded, lush fruity flavors work. Just as you experiment with different seasonings in your pot, try different flavors in your glass to see which ones you like best—and enjoy!

These wine pairings and the recipe are from my column in the January 2010 issue of Cooking Light magazine, which has a circulation of 1.7 million readers. (Interestingly, it’s the third largest in North America, and the only one in the top five that’s not related to the Food Network.)

Clam Chowder

This luxurious soup with its briny taste of the sea calls for the citrus zest of a riesling. The lemon and lime accents in the wine cut through the silky rich broth and potato-goodness in the chowder. Top up my glass, please.


Clam Chowder Wines

2007 Hogue Riesling (Washington State $9) Fresh white with notes of field daisies, white peach and apricot

2007 Pierre Sparr Riesling (France $13) Lime green refreshment with grapefruit and green melon aromas

SPLURGE: 2007 Studert-Prüm Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Spätlese (Germany $21) Packs a flavor punch of lemongrass and green apples without being heavy



Clam Chowder Recipe

If served as an entrée, this is a special-occasion splurge, nutritionally. But you can serve a smaller portion as an appetizer, guilt-free.

Yield: 6 servings

* 8  ounces  medium shrimp, shells and tails intact
* Cooking spray
* 2  cups  chopped onion
* 12  garlic cloves, crushed
* 2  jalapeño peppers, halved
* 1/4  cup  dry white wine
* 6  cups  water
* 1  tablespoon  butter
* 2  tablespoons  all-purpose flour
* 3/4  cup  heavy whipping cream
* 1  teaspoon  salt, divided
* 1/8  teaspoon  saffron threads, crushed
* 1  pound  black snapper fillets, cut into bite-sized pieces
* 3  tablespoons  small cilantro leaves
* 1  avocado, peeled, seeded, and chopped
* 6  lime wedges


1. Peel and devein shrimp, reserving the shells.

2. Heat a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add shrimp shells, onion, garlic, and peppers; sauté 3 minutes, stirring frequently. Add wine to pan; cook 3 minutes or until liquid almost evaporates, stirring occasionally. Add 6 cups water; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 40 minutes or until liquid is reduced to 3 cups; strain over a bowl. Discard solids. Wipe pan clean.

3. Melt butter in pan over medium-high heat. Stir in flour; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Gradually add 1 cup shrimp broth, stirring constantly with a whisk. Stir in remaining 2 cups broth, cream, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and saffron; bring to a boil. Cook 5 minutes or until slightly thick, stirring occasionally. Sprinkle shrimp and fish evenly with remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt; add to pan. Reduce heat, and simmer 3 minutes or until shrimp are pink and fish flakes easily. Remove from heat. Ladle about 2/3 cup soup into each of 6 bowls; top each serving with 1 1/2 teaspoons cilantro and about 1 1/2 tablespoons avocado. Serve with lime wedges.

Wine note: The ever-popular Santa Margherita Pinot Grigio from Italy, 2008 ($20), is a zesty, crisp white with notes of grapefruit and lime. With a kick of heat in your bowl, you want refreshment in your glass. This wine delivers with vibrant fruit and a clean finish. –Natalie MacLean




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