(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
- In a large stockpot bring 2 cups of water to a boil. Add clams, cover and cook for until all clams are opened.
- 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.
- 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.
- Add the garlic, thyme and bay leaves, and cook until the vegetables are thoroughly wilted, about 3 minutes, being careful not to brown.
- 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.)
- Remove from the heat, stir in clams and heavy cream and season with pepper and salt, if necessary.
- 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
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.