New England Clam Chowder
Sauteing the vegetables in the bacon drippings gives this thick chowder extra flavor.
- 6 strips bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 2 ribs celery, strings removed, cut into 1/4-inch dice
- 1 cup small pearl onion, peeled
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 cups unsalted clam juice
- 4 small Yukon Gold potatoes, (about 1 pound), peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice
- 2 dried bay leaves
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 5 large sprigs fresh thyme
- 8 pounds quahog clams, shucked, liquid reserved, and chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
- 2 fresh ears yellow corn, kernels removed
- 2 1/2 cups milk
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoons dry sherry, (optional)
In a stockpot, cook bacon until crisp. Drain bacon on a paper towel, and set aside; discard all but 2 tablespoons bacon fat. Add celery and onions; saute, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon, until translucent, about 7 minutes.
Sprinkle flour over onion mixture; cook, stirring with a wooden spoon, 2 to 3 minutes. Add clam juice, 1/2 cup water, potatoes, bay leaves, and 1/8 teaspoon of the pepper; cover; bring to a boil. Pick thyme leaves from stems; add both leaves and stems to pot. Reduce heat to medium low; simmer until potatoes are almost fork tender, about 12 minutes.
Add clams and reserved liquid, cover, and cook 4 minutes over medium heat. Add corn kernels, cover, and cook 4 to 6 minutes. Add milk and butter; cook until butter melts, about 5 minutes. Remove bay leaves and thyme stems; add remaining 1/8 teaspoon pepper and salt.
Drizzle with sherry, and garnish with bacon pieces. Serve immediately.