Cream-based soups like New England–style chowders are often victims of excessive flour, Chowhound monkeyrotica notes in a recent discussion on the General Topics board. Overthickening with flour gives soup the illusion of creaminess, sr44 says, and reduces the risk of curdling when you go to reheat it. But some clam chowders contain so much flour they make Vidute think of wallpaper paste.
Bob W thinks the best chowder is thin, which is often the case with Rhode Island–style chowder. But what if you like thick, hearty chowders? Vidute adds potatoes cut in different sizes, so the smaller fragments "melt," adding thickness to a chowder rich with whole milk and butter. Likewise sunshine842 likes the rich, velvety texture of cooked-down potatoes, especially with heavy cream stirred in at the end. Meanwhile, monkeyrotica's ideal chowder is thick with rendered pork fatback, heavy cream, milk, and butter. "It's like a throwback to those old French dishes where you combine three sauces, all made with sticks of butter," monkeyrotica says.
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