New England Clam Chowder

It’s Super Bowl Sunday!  I’ve only recently discovered that people eat more food on this day than any other holiday except for Thanksgiving.  I’m sure there will be lots of chili and dips galore served today, but I thought it would be fitting to celebrate my favorite football team’s appearance in the Super Bowl by posting this New England clam chowder.  Or, as we say in Boston, clam chowdah!

I’m a transplanted Bostonian and have lived in the Chicago area for close to 20 years now.   My husband and I have been very happy here; however, we do miss the easy access to all kinds of fresh fish.  When I saw this recipe for clam chowder which uses canned clams, I thought I’d give it a try since fresh clams are scarce around here.  It was very easy to make and surprisingly good considering it didn’t have fresh clams in it.

Until the next time we can make the 1,000-mile trip to the Atlantic coast and order a bowl of clam chowder by the ocean, this will do quite nicely.

Bring it home, Pats!

New England Clam Chowder

Ingredients

  • 4 slices center-cut, thick-cut bacon (about 4 ounces), cut into 1/4-inch pieces
  • 1 large Spanish onion, chopped
  • 2 tbl. all-purpose flour
  • 4 cans (6 1/2 ounces each) minced clams, drained and juice reserved
  • 2 bottles (8 ounces each) clam juice
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 1/2 pounds red potatoes (about 4 medium), scrubbed and cut into ½-inch dice
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/4 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tbl. minced fresh parsley leaves, optional
  • Salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste (I did not need to add any salt.)

Directions

1.  Fry the bacon in a large stockpot or Dutch oven over medium-low heat until the fat renders and the bacon crisps, 5 to 7 minutes.

2.  Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes.

3.  Add the flour and stir until lightly colored, about 1 minute. Gradually whisk in the reserved clam juice (from the cans), the bottled clam juice and the water.

4.  Add the potatoes, bay leaf, and thyme and simmer until the potatoes are tender, about 10 to 15 minutes.

5.  Add the clams, cream, parsley, salt and pepper to taste; bring to a simmer. Remove from the heat, discard the bay leaf, and serve immediately.

Fran’s Notes

  • After I cooked the bacon in my Dutch oven and its fat was rendered, I removed it.  I don’t care for bacon in soups; I much prefer it sprinkled as a crispy topping.
  • Also, I found that the chowder did not need any additional salt from that provided by the clam juice.  Be sure to taste test and judge for yourself before adding any.
  • The next time I make this chowder, I plan to add another tablespoon or two to make it a bit thicker—just a personal preference.

Source:  Adapted from a Brown Eyed Baker recipe

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