Cooking Our Favorite Restaurant Dishes at Home

As mentioned in our recent musings about fresh oysters, Gothamist considers Blue Ribbon Bistro to be one of our favorite restaurants in the city. While BR Sushi and Bakery are both fantastic in their own right, Blue Ribbon proper has a roster of about seven dishes that we actually crave. As with most other cravings, Gothamist needs to satisfy the itch whenever we are on either end of the bi-polar scale - Blue Ribbon is like a friend that can make a celebration better or a bad day go away.

The cravings sneak up between visits. The creamy, tangy steak tartar with crispy waffle chips. The silky smooth foie gras terrine on grilled toast. Cold, fresh East and West Coast oyster platters with a perfectly tangy mignonette. Crispy, juicy, and greaseless fried chicken with mashed potatoes is always a must. The skate, the duck club, the catfish . . . we could go on forever. And we usually do.

The dish that holds a special place in our heart is the Clam Stew for Two, arriving on the table in a massive blue Le Creuset style pot. The server lifts off the top and reveals a steaming pot of clams settled in a white stew - not thick enough to be a heavy chowder, but not liquid enough to be a soup. The stew is enhanced with soft potato chunks (like a chowda) but the real star is the creamy, herby, clam infused juices and the abundance of clams. The crispy grilled garlic bread on the side is, by far, the best we’ve ever had and the perfect vehicle to dunk in the stew.

Add the spiciness of chorizo, the perfume of fresh rosemary and the sweetness of carrots and you have the Gothamist version of Blue Ribbon’s Clam Stew For Two.

Gothamist Recipe

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Clam Stew for Two
with potatoes, chorizo, rosemary and carrots

If you were wise enough to make our brodo from a few weeks back, this recipe would be a fantastic use for the leftovers. Purchased stock is also fine, but check our shopping notes below. The potatoes cooked slowly in the stock helps to naturally thicken the stew and create the stew-like texture. You can make the stew a day or so in advance of serving, or you can start this about an hour before dinner. A small side salad is a good choice to serve with this, but a baguette or garlic bread for sopping is mandatory!

Ingredient Shopping List
Recipe serves two to three people.

About 20 littleneck or cherry stone clams (10 pp)
1 box or three cans of low sodium chicken stock (see below)
1 package of Spanish chorizo (see below)
2 larger sized Yukon Gold potatoes
1 bunch fresh rosemary
2 large carrots
1 lemon
1 small pint of half and half
1 medium/small white onion
bay leaves
2 cloves fresh garlic
kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
unsalted butter
extra virgin olive oil
1 baguette

Estimated cost of ingredients: $20 at Fairway

Shopping for the Ingredients

Try and buy authentic Spanish chorizo for this dish. It seems to be in virtually every good market these days. If not available, spicy sausage or even pancetta would be a good substitute.

Warning: Gothamist is a stock snob. Off tasting, flavorless or overly salty stock can ruin a dish. Always buy low sodium stock, regardless of brand. Low fat is also key, as we like add our own. We prefer Health Valley boxed stock (cans fine) as well as Campbell’s Healthy Request. Kitchen Basics is a brand to avoid, in our opinion. College Inn is a last resort. Again, try and make your own. It’s so worth it.

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Prep the Ingredients

Chop half of the medium sized onion into a small dice. Do the same for the carrot. Remove the rosemary from three stalks and chop very finely. Rough chop both cloves of garlic.

Peel the potatoes. Chop them into small cubes. It’s important to not make the potato cubes too thick, as you want them to cook in a short amount of time (example of size below).

Check the clams and make sure they are not sandy. Give them a rinse. If they are sandy, wash thoroughly and soak in water if necessary.

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Brown the Chorizo

Chop one medium piece of chorizo into small cubes on a cutting board (you can use two pieces if you want the chorizo to play a more prominent role in the dish. We are using it here as an accent). Bring a medium sized pasta pot to medium heat (you will use this pot for all aspects of the dish). Add the chorizo to the dry pan and brown on each side. Careful, this will only take about 2 minutes per side. When done, place on paper towels to drain.

Pour about ¾ of the fat out of the pan, leaving a bit in the pot for the next step.

Make the Stew

Place the pot on medium heat. After a minute, add the chopped onion, carrots and garlic and season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Add a small pinch (1/3 of your pile) of rosemary and stir. Sauté gently for about 2 minutes, until you see that the veggies have released their juices. You are not looking to brown the veggies. At this point, add one of bay leaves and the chopped potatoes. Season again with salt and pepper and place on low heat.

Add about three cups of stock, or a little over half of a box or two and a half cans to the pot. A splash of white wine, if you have it, is also great here.

Let this liquid simmer, barely bubbling, for about 6-8 minutes. You are looking for not only the liquid to reduce, but also for the potatoes to cook through and become soft. Check the potatoes after 5-6 minutes for doneness, continue to simmer until they are very soft.

When soft, add one more pinch of the rosemary, one large tablespoon of butter, a squeeze of lemon juice and a :01 pour of half and half to the liquid. Stir and bring up to a simmer. Taste the broth at this point. It will most likely need some more salt and pepper.

Finally, check the consistency. If too soupy, crush the potatoes with the back of a heavy spoon while in the pot and mix. You can also puree it briefly with a hand blender, which we did for perfect results. Either way, be sure to leave whole chunks of the potato as well.

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Add the clams to the pot. Place a lid on the pot to steam the clams –this should take about 4-5 minutes or until they have just opened.

Add the chorizo.

Finish the Dish
We like to serve this dish in one big pot on the table, though you can make individual portions as well.

Simply transfer all of the contents of the pot into one large or two individual serving bowls. Try and pour the liquid and veggies right on top of the clams so they are easy for your guests to see and serve right away with some bread. Garnish eat dish with final pinch of rosemary.

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