Richard Pokrivka, 12, of York holds his blue ribbon from the York Fairs Everybody Loves Soup contest.
Richard Pokrivka, 12, of York holds his blue ribbon from the York Fairs Everybody Loves Soup contest. (John A. Pavoncello photo)

When the winners of the York Fair's Everybody Loves Soup contest were announced, longtime York Fair entrants were a little surprised by who took the blue ribbon.

Richard Pokrivka, 12, of York won the competition with his Rick's Amazing Clam Chowder, a recipe he and his mom, Jill, developed.

Pokrivka, a seventh-grader at York Catholic, said he chose to enter the contest because he likes soup and wanted to give it a try.

"I've personally always liked cooking," he said. "And I've always liked thicker soups."

Judges Kathy Price, Ruth Ehrlich and Richard Butler graded the 11 entries on taste, presentation, creativity and ease of preparation. The contest was sponsored by Shurfine markets.

Pokrivka, who also placed second in the youth division of the King Arthur Flour's Cupcake Showdown, said he likes to get in the kitchen and try out new things. He even developed a recipe for bacon pancakes.

"They tasted pretty good, actually."

As a York Fair contest winner, next year Pokrivka will be eligible to compete in the Challenge of Champions competition, which is only open to previous blue ribbon winners.

Though he was confident in his entry, Pokrivka said going up against Culinary Corner veterans was a little scary.

"I was a little bit intimidated," he said. "They have more knowledge than I do."

Pokrivka's first place win earned him a $75 gift certificate for Shurfine Markets. Brenda Moore of Mount Wolf won the second place ribbon and a $50 gift certificate with her Hearty Italian Soup. Fred Staub Jr. of New Oxford took third place and a $25 gift certificate with his Cat Fish Potato Soup.

Rick's Amazing Clam Chowder

1/4 pound thick sliced bacon, cut into ½-inch pieces

1 cup chopped onion

1 cup chopped celery

3/4 cup diced carrots

1 bay leaf

2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons flour

3/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper

1 teaspoon fresh thyme, chopped

4 6.5-ounce cans minced clams, with juice

2-½ cups milk

1 14.5-ounce can chicken broth

2 large potatoes, peeled and diced

1 cup fresh corn, cut from the cob

Fresh chopped parsley

In a large stock pot, cook the bacon pieces over medium heat until the bacon is crispy, about 8 minutes. Remove the bacon, leaving grease in the pan, and set aside.

Stir in the onion, celery, carrot and bay leaf into the bacon grease and cook for 5 minutes. Drain extra fat.

Melt the butter into the pot over medium-low heat. Whisk flour mixture into butter and cook for 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Add salt, pepper and thyme and stir. Slowly whisk in clams (with juice), milk and broth and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat.

Once simmering, cook for 5 minutes, whisking frequently. Add the bacon along with the potatoes and corn. Return to a simmer, then reduce heat to medium-low and cook until the potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes.

Taste and add more salt and pepper if needed. Stir in fresh parsley and serve with a little extra parsley on the top of each bowl as garnish.