Manila Clam Chowder
Creamy chowder; full of tender, steamed clams
- 2 cups dry white wine
- 1 cup bottled or canned clam juice, or more as needed
- 3 pounds Manila or steamer size clams, scrubbed and rinsed
- 1/4 pound sliced bacon, cut into 1/2 -inch dice
- 1 cup celery, finely diced, about 2 medium stalks
- 1 cup leeks, finely diced, white and light green part only, about 2 small leeks
- 1 medium potato, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch dice to equal about 1 cup
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 cups heavy cream, hot
- 2 teaspoons fresh thyme, chopped
- 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice, to taste
- freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 1 tablespoon thinly sliced chives for garnish
Preparation time 20mins
Cooking time 45mins
TO STEAM the clams, put the wine in a large saucepan that is large enough to hold all the clams. Bring to a boil over high heat, and boil until the volume is reduced by half. You should have about 1 cup of reduced white wine. Add the clam juice and bring the liquid back to a boil. Add the clams, cover, and cook over high heat, shaking the pan occasionally, just until the clams are open, about 4 minutes. Set a colander over a large bowl, remove the saucepan from the heat, and pour the clams into the colander, reserving both the clams and all the liquid. Pick the clams out of the shells, discarding the shells, and coarsely chop the clam meat. Strain the reserved liquid through a cheesecloth-lined strainer. Measure the liquid. You should have 4 cups, if not, add more clam juice. Cover and refrigerate the clam meat and the clam liquid if you are not making the chowder right away. (Or buy a 51 oz. can of shucked clams in juice).
WHEN you are ready to finish the chowder, pour the clam liquid into a saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium high heat. Meanwhile, set a large pot over medium-high heat and cook the bacon until it starts to crisp and some of the fat is rendered. Add the celery and leeks and continue to cook, stirring as needed, until the vegetables are soft, about 6 to 8 minutes. Add the hot clam liquid and the potatoes and simmer until the potatoes are tender, about 12 minutes.
MELT the butter in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the flour, a tablespoon at a time, whisking until smooth. Cook the roux for a minute or two. Strain about 1 cup of hot liquid from the chowder (returned solids to chowder) and gradually add it to the roux, whisking until smooth. Then scrape the thinned roux into the chowder pot, stirring until smooth. Simmer for 5 to 10 minutes, whisking occasionally.
ADD the hot cream to the chowder and stir until smooth. Add the clam meat and simmer for another mi8nute. Add the thyme and the lemon juice and season with freshly ground black pepper. You can add salt if needed, but taste first because the clams and clam juice are salty. Remove from the heat.
LADLE the chowder into bowls, and garnish each bowl with sliced chives.
Wine suggestion: Columbia Crest Chardonnay
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