NEW ENGLAND CLAM CHOWDER
Best made with fresh clams, but can be done with canned clams and bottled clam juice if fresh are not available.
- 6 doz. Little Neck or Cherrystone Clams
- 1 tbls unsalted butter
- 8 oz bacon, cut into 1/2 pcs.
- 2 celery stalks, diced
- 1 large Spanish onion, diced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 1/2 lbs Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and diced
- 1 bunch of fresh thyme, tied & 1 bay leaf
- 2 tbls cornstarch with 2 tbls water for slurry
- 2 1/2 cups half and half
- A few dashes of Tabasco (optional)
Put 4 cups of water with clams up to boil over high heat. Cover and cook until clams just open (8-10 min). Discard any unopened ones. Pull clams from shell (discard shells) and chop into bite size pieces.
Strain broth over a fine sieve lined with a coffee filter into a large bowl to measure at least 7 cups. Use chicken broth or water to make up difference, if needed.
Melt butter in a 6 qt. pot over medium heat. Add bacon and cook, stirring occasionally, until fat is rendered and bacon begins to brown (about 8 minutes). Add celery, onion and garlic and cook, stirring often until onion is translucent (10 min). Add reserved broth, potatoes, thyme and bay leaf. Bring chowder to a simmer, cook until potatoes are tender (20-25 min). Stir cornstarch and water together to form slurry. Stir slurry into chowder and bring to a boil to thicken. Remove from heat and discard bay leaf and thyme. Add reserved clams (I also added some leftover corn from a barbque) and cream. Season with Salt & Pepper. Garnish with chopped chives and serve