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New England Clam Chowder

Thursday, July 10, 2008

New England Clam Chowder

- 4 strips smoked bacon, chopped
- 4 stalks of celery, chopped
- 1 medium white onion, chopped
- 4 potatoes, peeled, cubed and soaked in just enough water to cover
- 1.5 tablespoons flour
- 2 cans of canned clams, liquid set aside and reserved
- about 15 medium cherrystone clams, washed and soaked*
- 1 cup of skim milk (or whole)
- 1 cup half and half (or heavy cream)
- thyme (dried, about 1 tsp)
- sea salt and pepper

* make sure you wash the shells completely. also, soak the clams for 10 minutes, then change the water and soak again until they're ready to be cooked.

How to make New England Clam Chowder
I made this for Father's Day since my Dad is obsessed with clam chowder. It's great to serve right away but I found it to be a lot thicker and more flavorful the second day. Hope you guys like it :)

1. In a pan on high heat, place the cherrystone clams in about a cup of water. Cover and bring to a boil. Remove clams immediately after opening. Separate clams from their shells and set aside. Reserve half of the cooking liquid, removing any grit or pieces of shell.

2. In a large stockpot, fry bacon and render the fat. When bacon is crisp, remove and set aside. Cool and crumble (this will serve as an optional garnish).

3. To the hot bacon fat, add onions and saute until translucent. Add celery and cook for an additional two minutes. Season with thyme, a little salt and pepper.

4. To mixture, add flour to create a roux. When celery and onion is coated with the flour, add the reserved clam juice, potatoes and water in which potatoes were soaked. Season with more pepper. Cover and bring to a boil. The liquid will be thick, so don't be freaked out lol

5. When potatoes are halfway cooked, slowly pour in the milk and the half and half, whisking the hot liquid as you go. Season with more salt and pepper if necessary. Lower the heat to a medium-high and simmer.

6. When soup is thickened (lightly coats the back of a spoon), add the clams and simmer for an additional 2 minutes.

7. Allow to sit for about 5 minutes, then serve with a little chopped parsley and the crumbled bacon from earlier. Serves 6.