New England Clam Chowder
from The Gourmet Cookbook
36 hard-shelled clams (less than 2 inches wide), such as littlenecks, scrubbed well
1 1/2 cups cold water
2 medium boiling potatoes
2 tbsp unsalted butter
2 bacon slices, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
1 cup half-and-half
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1. Put the clams, and the cold water in a large pot, and place over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil. When it starts to boil, cover with the lid, and steam for 5 to 8 minutes until the clams open. Check after 5 minutes, and begin removing any that have opening. If any are still closed, allow them to steam longer. Discard any that haven't opened after 8 minutes. Strain and reserve the cooking liquid (there will be some fine grit, so use a fine-mesh sieve, or line a sieve with cheesecloth to strain out the grit).
2. When the clams can be handled, remove them from their shells, and roughly chop.
3. Peel the potatoes, and dice them into 1/4-inch pieces.
4. Place a large saucepan over medium heat, and add the butter.
5. When the butter is melted, add the bacon, and cook until golden, about 4 to 5 minutes.
6. Add the onion, and cook until softened, about 5 minutes, stirring often.
7. Add the potatoes, and reserved cooking liquid, and simmer, covered, until the potatoes are tender, 5-10 minutes.
8. Add the clams, half-and-half, and pepper to taste, and cook about 1 minute until heated through. Do not let the chowder boil.
9. Add the parsley.
- As I mentioned earlier, I'd love to puree some of the potatoes once they're cooked as it should give the finished soup a thicker consistency.
- If you'd like, you can use salt pork instead of bacon, but the bacon lends a nice smokiness to the chowder.
- It is very easy at the end for the half-and-half to separate a bit. Mine did in fact, but it will not affect the taste or consistency if this happens a little bit, it's more a visual thing.