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Jacques Pépin's Secret Ingredient For Clam Chowder With A Kick

Jacques Pépin smiling
Jacques Pépin smiling - Gregg Deguire/Getty Images

Jacques Pépin is a legendary chef and cookbook author. The highly decorated culinary figure counts 16 James Beard Foundation awards among his honors, including a lifetime achievement award from the organization. As a renowned culinary educator with honorary doctorate degrees from five universities, Pépin's tips for budding home chefs are invaluable, which is why you should follow his lead of incorporating jalapeño peppers in clam chowder to make it more flavorful and give it a kick.

Jalapeño peppers add a spiciness to the complex flavor profile of clam chowder that you're sure to enjoy. For Pépin's clam chowder recipe, which he shared on his "Cooking at Home" series, those peppers are added to a flavorful boiling mixture that includes ½ cup of bacon, one leek, 2 teaspoons of garlic, fresh thyme, 2 cups of clam juice, a cup of water, 2 cups of potato, corn, a ½ teaspoon of salt, a ½ teaspoon of pepper, 2 tablespoons of flour, and two 10-ounce cans of cooked baby clams.

You can determine just how much spice you taste in your clam chowder by adjusting the amount of diced jalapeño you use to incorporate in your boiling mixture, but Pépin likes to add a specific amount of jalapeño peppers to clam chowder to give it just enough spicy.

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Read more: French Cooking Tricks You Need In Your Life

How To Add Jalapeños To Clam Chowder

Jacques Pépin cooking clam chowder
Jacques Pépin cooking clam chowder - KQED/YouTube

Pépin adds about 2 to 3 tablespoons of minced jalapeño peppers to his clam chowder mixture as it boils. Jalapeño peppers are usually measured between 2,000 to 8,000 Scoville Heat Units (SHU), which is actually on the milder side considering that the spiciest peppers are around 1,000,000 SHUs. While he was cooking his clam chowder recipe on "Cooking at Home," Pépin said that 2 to 3 tablespoons of minced jalapeño peppers adds "a bit of a kick, not too much," making it one of the more subtle ways to upgrade clam chowder.

Pépin also instructed to "always test your jalapeño pepper when you do it because sometimes [...] it can blow your mind." Pépin was specifically referring to a taste test of your jalapeño peppers so that you can know just how spicy your peppers are. However, if you don't like the taste of jalapeño peppers, there are other ways to give your clam chowder a little bit of a kick.

Try These Spices In Your Clam Chowder

Clam chowder
Clam chowder - Lauripatterson/Getty Images

There are many spices that you can incorporate into your clam chowder to give it just a little bit of fire. Smoked paprika will add a woodsy spiciness to your clam chowder. Peppering your clam chowder with cayenne pepper can give it some sweet and smoky red pepper flavor. You can also use all kinds of hot sauces to give your clam chowder a kick, such as Cholula Original Hot Sauce, which would add some mildly spicy vinegar flavor.

Another option is to pepper your clam chowder mixture with Cajun spices that will give your dish some bold, rich, smoky, and spicy flavor from its combination of cayenne pepper, garlic, and paprika. You can also include meats in your clam chowder that will give it a kick. One of which is Mexican chorizo, which is sure to add some fire since the pork gets its spicy flavor from vinegar and chile pepper seasoning. Just remember to thank Pépin when you enjoy that delicious kick in your clam chowder.

Read the original article on Daily Meal.