New England Clam Chowder

5 10 2011

I love Clam Bakes, and October is a perfect time for them! We had quite the feast at one this past weekend…and when there’s that much food, there’s always leftovers (which I also love)! I was surprised to hear that the host didn’t want the clam broth from the bakes – but I quickly jumped at the chance to take it, knowing that I would whip up an awesome batch of homemade clam chowder! Which is exactly what I did, compliments of a great and easy Emeril Lagasse recipe.

New England Clam Chowder

The following makes 6-8 main course servings (make the whole recipe and enjoy leftovers for lunch and dinner!):

  • 2 cans, about 15 oz each, of canned whole clams, drained and chopped into 1/2-inch pieces (if you have any  leftover fresh clams from a Clam Bake you’ll want to use those too, I did!)
  • 6 cups clam broth (you could also use chicken or vegetable broth)
  • 4 slices bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 3 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 cups finely chopped yellow onions
  • 1 cup finely chopped celery
  • 1 and 1/2 tsp minced garlic (I suggest adding a bit more)
  • 6 sprigs worth of fresh thyme leaves
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 cups peeled potatoes (about 1 and 1/4 pounds), 1/2-inch cubed
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • Salt
  • A few Tbsp of extra cold unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup minced parsley leaves
  • 1/4 finely chopped chives or green onions
  • This Girl’s addition: corn, about 3 ears worth

In a large heavy pot cook the bacon until crisp and the fat is rendered. Pour off all bacon fat except 2 Tbsp worth. 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 – be careful not to brown. Add the potatoes and reserved clam broth, and bring to a boil. Lower the heat, cover and simmer for 20-30 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 or potato masher. Remove from the heat, stir in clams and heavy cream and season with pepper and salt, if necessary. This is where I also added the corn.

Set aside for 1 hour, covered, to allow the flavors to marry. Place the pot over low heat, and slowly reheat. Just before serving, stir in a few Tbsp of cold butter.

Serve hot – garnished with parsley and chives. I also suggest serving with Oyster crackers or Saltines 🙂

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