Hubby and I love New England Clam Chowder and have been trying to make Chowder since hubby’s Valentine dinner attempt. We’ve been using more affordable clams without sacrificing the flavor too much. Fresh clams are surprisingly pretty costly at about $5 per pound and with the thick heavy shells, you probably end up with 1/4 lb or less of actual clam meat! And you really really need lots of clam meat to make clam chowder yummy and hearty! For a soup to feed 4, you would need about 3-5 lbs of clams! Unless the clams are in season and are super duper cheap, we will definitely stick to more affordable alternative! After several trials with different kind of clams (as well as different potatoes), we thought that canned chopped clams (6 cans @ $5.99 from Costco) were quite a good substitute. Hubby and I would love to try frozen clams next time and see what yummy chowder we can make out of it! The recipe we’ve been using is based on Kim’s Country Clam Chowder. And we’ve made changes to her recipe according to our preference! We added more cooking wine (cheap @ $2 per bottle) than the recipe asked for. Hubby teased that I should start a food blog with food recipes with lotsa liquor and wine used in cooking..since we do love alcohol in our dishes! And no, we’re not alcoholics!! =P. Here’s our version of the New England Clam Chowder…. won’t bother renaming it as I’m not that creative in making new names! =p
NEW ENGLAND CLAM CHOWDER
- 4 Strips Hickory Smoked Bacon,
- 2-3/4 Cup Red Skin Potatoes, Skin On & Diced Into 1/2 Inch Cubes
- 1 Cup Yellow Onion, Chopped
- 3 Cloves Garlic, Minced
- 3/4 Cup Celery, Diced
- 3 x 6.5 Oz Cans Snow’s Chopped Clams In Clam Juice
- 1/2 Cup Clam Juice
- 1 Cup Dry White Cooking Wine
- 1 Cup Milk
- 1/2 Cup Heavy Cream
- 1/2 Tsp Black Pepper
- 1/4 Tsp Dried Thyme
- Salt (**Optional)
- 1 Tbsp All Purpose Flour
- 1 Tbsp Butter, Room Temperature
- 1/2 Tsp Chopped Parsley
- Oyster Crackers
In a large pot, fry bacon strips until crisp (no oil needed). Remove bacon from pot, drain on paper towel and leave bacon grease in pot. Add potatoes to pan and cook over medium heat for 5 minutes. Add celery, onion and garlic and cook for an additional 5 minutes.
Strain canned chopped clams and set clam juice aside. There should be about 1-1/2 cups of clam juice from the canned clams. Give the clams a rough chop. Add chopped clams, clam juice and white wine. Cover and cook over medium heat for about 15 minutes until potatoes are tender. Stir in thyme and pepper.
Reduce heat to low and gradually add milk, then heavy cream, stirring frequently until chowder begins to thicken slightly. Season soup with salt if needed. In a separate bowl, combine butter and flour until smooth then add tiny dollops of it into the soup to thicken the soup a little more. If you like your soup very thick, repeat the butter and flour mixture until you get the consistency you like. Remember to let the soup cook for a minute or two before adding more flour mixture.
Ladle soup into individual bowls and top with crumbled crispy bacon as well as pieces of oyster crackers. Garnish with chopped fresh parsley and serve this piping hot! If you have a warm crusty bread….that would be awesome! This serves 4-5 people!
June’s Notes: I would not recommend the use of Baby Clams… the texture is just not right!! You should be able to find chopped clams and clam juice at the aisle where they sell canned tunas.