On the cost of New England, where clams are a staple, chowder features prominently on most menus. Chef Pam McKinstry created this award-winning version for her Nantucket Island restaurants many years ago, and she says fans have told her that this is the best chowder they’ve ever eaten. Subtle hints of bacon and dill enhance, but don’t overwhelm, the fresh, briny flavor of the shellfish. Creamy, rich, and full of clams, this chowder is sure to please!
New England Clam Chowder
- 6 oz (about 6 slice) thick-sliced bacon, cut into ¼-inch dice
- About 2 cup diced yellow onion (¼-inch dice)
- ¾ cup diced celery (¼-inch dice)
- 1 large carrot, peeled and finely grated (about ¾ cup)
- 1 Tbsp dried dill
- 2 tsp dried thyme
- ½ tsp freshly ground white pepper
- ⅓ to ½ cup unbleached all-purpose flour
- 3 cup bottled clam juice
- ½ cup dry white wine
- 2 dried bay leaves
- 3 cans (6.5 oz each) chopped clams, with their juices
- 1 cup half-and-half
- 3 cup diced cooked potatoes (¼-inch dice; any variety will work)
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Cook the bacon in a large stockpot over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until it is crisp, 15 to 20 minutes. Add the onion, celery, carrot, dill, thyme, and white pepper to the pot, and cook, stirring frequently, until the vegetables are soft, 10 to 15 minutes.
Add ⅓ cup of the flour and cook, stirring constantly, over medium-low heat to make a thick roux. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes to eliminate the raw flour taste. If the roux is oily, add more of the flour and continue cooking for 2 more minutes. (The exact quantity of flour needed will depend upon the amount of bacon fat in your pot.)
Add the clam juice, wine, and bay leaves, and raise the heat to medium. Cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is hot and has thickened, 10 to 15 minutes. Add the chopped clams with their juices, the half-and-half, and the potatoes, and cook gently until the soup is hot. Season the chowder with salt and pepper to taste.
Note: The chowder can be refrigerated, covered, for up to 4 days.
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Excerpted from The Earthbound Cook Copyright 2010 by Myra Goodman. Used by permission of Workman Publishing Co., Inc. New York All Rights Reserved