Travel Fare: Charleston Chowder
March 11, 2012
Caleb Pirtle III
The churches of Charleston, South Carolina, did not escape the scars off conflict. The eight bells of St. Michael’s were stolen by British troops as a price of war in the American Revolution, then later returned.
During the Civil War, the bells were taken to Columbia for safety. However, the Army of W. T. Sherman broke them and burned them.
The undaunted Carolinians dutifully gathered up the fragments, sent the shattered pieces back to England, and had them recast in their original molds.
Once again, the eight bells swing in the church spire. It is said that as long as you hear the ringing of the bells at St. Michael’s, you know all is well in Charleston.
2 medium onions, chopped
2 medium potatoes, chopped
1 tablespoon butter
2 cups milk
1 pint heavy cream
2 cups bottled clam juice
1 sprig celery leaves, minced
½ small bay leaf, crumpled
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
1/8 teaspoon dried thyme
1/8 teaspoon grated nutmeg
2 pints shucked oysters and liquor
1 tablespoon cream sherry
- In a large saucepan over medium heat, sauté the onions and potatoes in butter for 10 minutes.
- Add milk, cream, clam juice, herbs, and spices. Bring to scalding; lower heat, and simmer 20 minutes.
- Puree in a blender or food processor, 2 cups at a time, or press through a sieve.
- Turn oysters and their liquor into a small saucepan. Cook, uncovered, over medium heat, shaking the pan constantly, until all the oysters are curled at the edges, about 4 minutes.
- Pour the oysters into the puree and turn off heat. Stir in the sherry if you like.
- Note: Finish just before serving.
CharlestonSeafood.com, a fresh Seafood Company in Charleston, South Carolina.