Big Joe Henry’s Clam Bisque Soup Recipe
Back in the day, my Sunday nights were spent at one place: Cheers in Long Branch. (I mean every Sunday night!) Sunday night at Cheers was an experience I would look forward to, starting on Tuesday.
Monday was a day of rest and recuperation from Sunday night. At Cheers on Sunday nights Pat Guadagno and the Candle Brothers would be playing while “Mighty” Tom Young bartended (a Hall of Fame Bartender by the way).
George Beckett, the owner of Cheers, would be holding court and the most eclectic group of friends would gather and just have the type of fun that bordered on possible jail time. Sunday nights the games would begin. Cheers was the type of place where Bruce Springsteen held private parties, Bon Jovi would come in, Bobby Bandiera, Southside Johnny and even the legendary Dion all played there on a regular basis.
Cheers’ music and talent absolutely rivaled that of the famous Stone Pony. I sincerely hope that one day George and Tom will write a book about Cheers because I think it would be one of the funniest tomes ever written.
George sold Cheers years ago and the new owners tried hard to make it a success but they never really did “get it“. George is a great friend of mine and we have a blast enjoying life and livin’ large with a terrific group of close-knit friends. His wife, Kate, and his beautiful daughters have put up with our shenanigans and I love them for their patience. George is a very good cook with some terrific recipes.
I’ve always enjoyed hanging out in his back yard, eating well and smoking cigars, not to mention throwing back a few adult beverages. Kate and George’s daughters, Allison and Lauren, have been instrumental in helping us out at so many charity events. George gave me this recipe and I love it. Thanks, George and Kate, for the recipe and most of all for your friendship.
1 1⁄2 sticks of butter
1 green pepper, grated
1 medium-size onion, grated
2 medium-size carrots, grated
1 bunch fresh parsley, chopped
2 tbsp. thyme
2 tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce
2 1⁄2 cups chopped clams
1 cup clam broth or juice
1⁄2 pint sherry
3⁄4 cup flour
1 quart half and half
How to put it together:
In a large soup pot: Sauté using 1⁄2 stick of butter: pepper, onions, carrots and 2 tablespoons of parsley. Generously sprinkle into pan thyme, salt and pepper. Add 2 tablespoons of Worcestershire Sauce. Cook for about 5 minutes.
Add clams, clam broth and sherry, then cook for 10 minutes on medium heat, stirring constantly. In a small sauce pan over medium-high heat, add 1 stick of butter and slowly incorporate flour to make a roux.
After roux is complete, lower heat, add half and half to roux, stirring constantly until mixture has become thick and smooth. Keep on low heat until heated through. Slowly add the roux/half and half mixture to the clam mixture, stirring constantly.
Once fully incorporated lower temperature to low and cook for 30 minutes. Sprinkle individual servings with paprika and serve.