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(Serves 6-8 main course)

  • 8lb (3.6kg) fresh clams
  • 4 slices of bacon (cut into ½ inch pieces)
  • 3 tbs unsalted butter
  • 2 cups finely chopped yellow onion
  • 1 cup finely chopped celery
  • 1 ½ tsp minced garlic
  • 6 springs fresh thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 cups 1.5cm cubed, peeled potatoes (about 500g)
  • 2 cups (470ml) heavy cream
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • Salt
  1. In a large stockpot bring 2 cups of water to a boil. Add clams, cover and cook for until all clams are opened.
  2. Transfer the clams to a large bowl or baking dish and strain the broth to strain out the sand. (Add enough water to make 6 cups.) Remove clam from their shells and chop into 1/2-inch pieces. Set clams and broth aside.
  3. In a large heavy pot cook the bacon until crisp and the fat is rendered. Pour off all bacon fat except 2 tablespoons. Add the butter, onions and celery and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.
  4. Add the garlic, thyme and bay leaves, and cook until the vegetables are thoroughly wilted, about 3 minutes, being careful not to brown.
  5. Add the potatoes and reserved clam broth, and bring to a boil. Lower the heat, cover, and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes, or until the broth thickens slightly and the potatoes are very tender. (If you like a thicker broth, mash some of the potatoes against the side of the pot with a wooden spoon.)
  6. Remove from the heat, stir in clams and heavy cream and season with pepper and salt, if necessary.
  7. Set aside for 1 hour, covered, to allow the flavors to marry. Place the pot over low heat, and slowly reheat, being careful not to bring to the boil

NOTE:

This is a thin chowder. To thicken, mash some of the potatoes in the soup OR make a roux OR mix some all purpose flour in water and pour in the soup until thick.

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