Boston-Style Creamy Clam Chowder2018-07-23
- Cuisine: East Coast Seafood
- Course: Appetizer, Main, Side Dish
- Skill Level: Beginner
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Boston-Style Creamy Clam Chowder
4 ounces salt pork or bacon, cut into 1/2-inch dice or ground in the food processor (about 1 cup) (see Notes)
6 tablespoons butter, plus more if needed
1 large onion, chopped
1 large celery stalk, thinly sliced
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 cups bottled clam juice (see Notes)
2 cups water, plus more if needed
1 pound all-purpose potatoes, peeled and diced (about 3 cups)
2 teaspoons dried thyme or 2 tablespoons chopped fresh (see Notes)
1 bay leaf, broken in half
3 cups chopped hard-shell clams with their liquor (see Notes)
11/2 cups heavy cream
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
1. Cook the salt pork with the butter in a large heavy soup pot or Dutch oven over medium-low heat until crisp and the fat is rendered, 10 to 15 minutes. Remove the cooked bits with a slotted spoon, drain on paper towels, and reserve. If you don’t have 8 tablespoons of fat in the pot, make up the difference with additional butter.
2. Add the onion and celery and cook over medium heat until they begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle on the flour and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add the clam juice and water and bring to a boil over high heat, whisking until smooth.
3. Add the potatoes, thyme, and bay leaf, and cook, covered, over medium-low heat until the potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes. Add the clams and cream, cook for 5 minutes, and remove from the heat. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Let the chowder sit at cool room temperature for at least an hour or, better yet, refrigerate for up to 2 days.
4. Reheat over low heat, adding more broth, cream, or water if the chowder is too thick. Ladle into bowls, sprinkle with parsley, and pass the reserved pork bits (reheated in the microwave) for sprinkling on the chowder if desired.
- If you’re using bacon it should produce enough of its own fat, so there’s no need to cook it in butter. After removing the cooked bits, you should have about 2 tablespoons of bacon fat; discard any excess and add 6 tablespoons butter to make a total of 8 tablespoons fat.
- For this classic chowder, dried thyme is more traditional than fresh, but feel free to use either.
- If you have fresh clams, scrub 5 to 6 pounds and steam them in 4 cups of water just until they open, 5 to 10 minutes. Then scrape out the clam meat and chop into pea-size pieces. Pour the cooking liquid into a glass measuring cup, let any sediment settle, and pour off 3 cups of the clean broth to use in place of the bottled clam juice.
- Chopped hard-shell clams (with their liquor) can be found fresh or frozen in the seafood section of most supermarkets. Bottled clam juice is usually shelved with the canned fish in the supermarket.