New England Clam Chowder

It is important to cook the clams in a deeply steeped wine butter sauce to they get all the flavors

I love chowders in the early spring, late fall and winter when you can get access to fresh ingredients and it is cool enough to enjoy a warm chowder. Hot chowder in the summer never really made sense as that is time do get into gazpacho and other chilled soups.

This is just another easy and forgiving dish. There are a few steps but the easier the dish the less the kick. People always ask about how big to chop all the items in a soup, salad or whatever they might be cooking. It is simple to figure out just by using common sense. Just think to yourself if you were about to bring a spoon of chowder up for a taste, how big would you want the bits of onions, peppers and so on to be? That is really just about all you need to think about.

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups dry white wine
  • 4 tablespoons of unsalted butter
  • 3 cups of bottled clam juice (separated)
  • 1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes
  • 8 sprigs of thyme
  • 4 garlic cloves rough chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 cups heavy cream, heated
  • 2 cups whole milk, heated
  • 4 strips of bacon, from your butcher and cut thickly and rough chopped
  • 3 cups of yellow onion, rough chopped
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 2 ears of sweet corn, kernels removed, discard the cob
  • 2 celery stalks, rough chopped
  • 2-3 tablespoons of flour
  • 3 cups of Yukon gold potatoes, scrubbed (but not peeled) and cut into 1/2 inch dices
  • 1 cup of chopped tarragon or basil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground white pepper
  • Sriracha

Making It

  • Take a large container and fill with enough water that will cover the clams, whisk in a cup of flour and then add the clams. This will have the clams shake out all of their sand
  • Melt the butter in a large sauce pan and add the red pepper flakes, thyme and sauté for 3 minutes or so allowing the herbs flavor the dish, add the garlic and sauté for a minute then add the bay leaves, 2 cups of the clam juice and wine, bring to a boil then let simmer for 30 minutes. Bring back to a boil and add the clams and cover. After five minutes start removing the clams as they open and set aside in a bowl. Discard unopened clams. Remove and discard the shells from half the clams and rough chop the meat
  • Strain the liquid from the clams through a fine strainer (getting every bit of sand you can), add the final cup of clam juice. You want about 6 cups
  • Combine the cream and milk in a saucepan with a few dashes of Sriracha and bring to a boil, then simmer until reduced by half. If you want to add even more flavor tie a string around 4 sprigs of thyme and let simmer in the milk/cream mix as it cooks down, discard the thyme afterwards
  • Drizzle a little olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat and cook down the bacon until crisp, remove the bacon and take a paper towel and wipe about 1/2 the grease out and then add the onion, bell pepper, corn, celery and cook for 4 minutes, until onion softens, then add the flour and stir in with a wooden spoon for about 3 minutes, Add the strained clam broth, stir and bring to a simmer. Add the potatoes and cook until you can pierce with a fork. Add the cream mixture and heat on medium. Add the clam meat and the clams still in the shell, add the bacon and sprinkle with the basil or tarragon, season with salt and pepper and serve with extra Sriracha so people can moderate the heat of their dish

2 thoughts on “New England Clam Chowder

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