Monday, March 7, 2011

New England Clam Chowder

When I was a kid, my mom and I used to eat New England Clam Chowder out of a can. How shameful.

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When we moved to Boston in ‘06, we tried so many different kinds of NE clam chowder. Some were more watery, some were thicker. Some had huge clam chunks, some had smaller ones. We watched specials on the making of the perfect clam chowder, clipped many magazine recipes, and searched high and low online. After all that research, perfection was made.

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I like mine chunky; full of potatoes and large pieces of clam. And I also like it creamy. Dennis prefers it served in bread bowl, but we’re not that fancy.

And in case you couldn’t already figure it out, there is nothing healthy about this recipe. You’ve been warned.

New England Clam Chowder

Ingredients:

  • 4 (6 1/2 oz.) cans minced clams with juice
  • 6 slices of bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • 4 medium baking potatoes, chopped in 1/2" cubes
  • 1 large onion, minced
  • 1-1/2 Tbsp. garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup water retained from steaming clams
  • 1 cup clam juice
  • 1/2 cup dry white cooking wine
  • 1 tsp. fresh thyme
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 cup 2% milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 Tbsp. butter
  • 2 T corn starch (or to desired consistency) 
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped
  • Oyster crackers

Preparation:

  1. In a large frying pan, cook bacon and potatoes over medium heat for 5-7 minutes
  2. Add onion and garlic and cook for an additional 3 minutes
  3. Transfer contents of frying pan to a large soup pot. Add chopped clams, clam juice and white wine and cook over medium heat until potatoes are tender, approximately 15 minutes
  4. Stir in thyme, salt and pepper
  5. Reduce heat to low. Add corn starch gradually to milk and stir until thick and smooth.
  6. Add milk/cornstarch mixture slowly, then the heavy cream, stirring frequently until chowder begins to thicken slightly
  7. Serve with oyster crackers (or not. I don’t need them)

 

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This was better than any canned recipe could ever be, and it wasn’t that difficult to make. I found a recipe for the CrockPot that I might try next, only because I love my CrockPot.

And you know what else made this chowder so good? I didn’t make it. Dennis did. With a little company.

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Do you prefer New England style clam chowder or Manhattan?

I like the NE style for a special treat because it’s so rich and heavy, but since the Manhattan style is tomato based, it’s a lot better for your waistline.

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