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New England-Style Clam Chowder

Cozy up this fall with a cup of New England clam chowder.

Makes 6 cups

Tools and Materials

  • 5 dozen littleneck clams, scrubbed
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 ounce salt pork, rinsed well and cut into lardons
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter (optional)
  • 1/2 large yellow onion, cut into small dice (1 cup)
  • 1 large russet potato, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice (2 cups)
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 sprig thyme
  • 1 dried bay leaf
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream

New England-Style Clam Chowder How-To

1. Combine clams and water in a medium stockpot, and then cover and bring to a boil. Cook until clams have opened, 5 to 6 minutes (discard any that remain closed). Use a spider or slotted spoon to remove clams. Strain the broth through a fine sieve lined with a coffee filter; you should have about 4 cups (if not, add a little water). When clams are cool enough to handle, remove the meat from the shells and coarsely chop. Discard shells.

2. Rinse the pot and dry completely. Cook the salt pork over medium heat until some of the fat has rendered and the remaining meat is light golden, about 3 minutes. (If there is not enough fat to coat the bottom of the pot, add the butter). Add the onion and cook until translucent, about 3 minutes, stirring once or twice.

3. Return the strained clam broth to the pot, along with the potato, thyme, and bay leaf; season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, and then reduce to a simmer and cook until the potato is tender but not falling apart, 6 to 8 minutes (if desired, mash a few against the side of the pot to thicken the broth slightly). Stir in clams and cream and cook just until heated through, no more than a minute or so. (Do not boil, or cream will separate and clams will toughen.) Season with salt and pepper and serve immediately.

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Comments (1)

  • chefaron 1 Jan, 2013

    If you don't like chowder that is the consistency of paste this is the recipe for you. It doesn't require any major tweaks, although I used bacon not salt pork and added a dash of Worcestershire sauce.