New England Clam Chowder
This Chowder is made with all fresh ingredients......recipe courtesy of Alex Guarnaschelli
- 5 lbs littleneck clams, well scrubbed with a brush under cold water
- 4 oz thick-cut bacon, cut into 1/4 inch pieces
- 2 tsp Aleppo pepper or other smoky dried pepper
- 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
- 2 celery stalks, sliced into 1/2 inch pieces
- kosher salt
- 2 small, thin leeks (white and light green part only), diced and well washed
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 cup dry vermouth
- 4 medium Yukon Gold potatoes (1 pound total), cut into 1/2 inch cubes
- 2 cups heavy cream, plus more if needed
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 Tbsp chopped fresh thyme leaves
- Worcestershire sauce
- Tabasco sauce
- 2 Tbsp chopped fresh tarragon leaves
- 2 Tbsp dry Marsala
1. Cook the clams: Put a large saute pan on the stove and add 1 cup water. Bring to a boil over high heat and add the clams. Stir the clams gently as they cook because the shells are fragile and break easily. Cook until they all open, 5-8 minutes. Put the clams in a colander and reserve the cooking liquid. Shell the clams, discarding the shells, and reserve the clams and cooking liquid separately.
2. Cook the bacon: Wipe out the saute pan and cook the bacon over medium heat until crisp, 5-8 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to remove the bacon to a paper towel and dust with the Aleppo pepper.
3. Cook the vegetables: Add the butter to the bacon fat in the pan and quickly saute the celery over medium heat for 1 minute. Season with salt. Remove with a slotted spoon to a bowl. Add the leeks and garlic to the pan and season with salt. Cook until they become tender and translucent, 3-5 minutes. Add the vermouth and simmer until almost all of the liquid has evaporated, 8-10 minutes.
4. Cook the potatoes: Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, combine the potatoes, 2 cups cream, the bay leaves, and thyme. Bring the mixture to a gentle simmer and cook until the potatoes are tender 5-8 minutes. Season with salt. Add a splash each of Worcestershire and Tabasco. Stir to blend. Taste for seasoning.
5. Finish the chowder: There is a good chance there will be grit in the clam cooking liquid, so strain it and avoid the sediment at the bottom when adding it to the leek mixture. Stir in the celery. Taste for seasoning, adding moire Worcestershire and Tabasco as needed. pour the leek mixture into the potato mixture. Add the clams and tarragon. Discard the bay leaves. Add the Marsala and taste for seasoning. Add more cream and/or water, if needed, to thin. Top with the bacon just before serving, with bread if desired.