Monday, January 25, 2010

While You're Waiting for the the Next Video, Why Not Try Some New England Clam Chowder?

I'm in the middle of what I hope turns out to be a delicious batch of braised lamb shanks, but in the meantime, I thought I'd post this clam chowder recipe for you to try, and hopefully report back. Please see the cookbook-bound written recipe following the photo. Thanks and enjoy!

New England Clam Chowder

Makes 6 servings

1 pound little neck clams, washed
1 cup water
2 slices bacon, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
1/2 yellow onion, diced
1 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
2 (10-ounce) cans whole clams, drained
2 cups cold clam juice (note part of this may be made up from the drained canned clam liquid, but clam juice has a stronger clam flavor)
1 1/2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled, and cut into 1/4-inch cubes
1 cup milk
1 cup cream
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
fresh chopped parsley to garnish
oyster cracker to garnish

Bring one cup of water to a boil in a small saucepan over high heat. Add the little neck clams, cover tightly, and cook for a couple minutes, until the clams open. Remove the clams to a bowl and reserve. Stain the cooking liquid and reserve.

In large saucepan, over medium heat, cook the bacon in the butter until almost crisp. Remove the bacon with slotted spoon and reserve, leaving the butter and rendered bacon fat in the pan.

Reduce the heat to medium-low, and add the onions. Sauté until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the flour and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Whisk in the cold clam juice, slowly at first. Add the reserved clam cooking liquid. Bring back to a simmer and add the potatoes. Cover and cook for 20 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender.

Note: at this point some chowder heads like to smash some of the potatoes against the bottom of the pan with a masher to add body to the soup. Optional!

Stir in the canned clams, milk, and cream. Reduce heat to low, and cook until just heated through. Do not boil. Add the reserved little neck clams, and cook for another minute. Taste and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper as needed.

Serve hot topped with the reserved bacon, parley, and oyster crackers.


Priscilla - She's Cookin' said...

Love clam chowder and this looks delicious - do you do all the food photography, too? And video, And the cooking? Wow! I just started a cooking blog in SoCal, no professional training - just a home-cook extraordinaire;)

KrisD said...

Being a born and bred New England girl, I was worried that the red stuff was tomato...then I was gonna have to vetch. I'm glad it's bacon. (I'm always glad it's bacon)

iliea said...

could you include hints on how to adapt this recipe for fresh clams??? any pointers??

Chef John said...

For all fresh just omit the 2 cans, and steam a couple dozen more clams in step one and proceed as directed. You can give them a rough chop after they cool. You'll still want the 2 cups of clam juice though. (and no cheese! ;-)

Tamar@StarvingofftheLand said...

Okay, John, I think it's high time we had the shells-in-food debate. Your recipe looks fabulous, of course, as all your recipes do (don't get me started on the Boston cream pie), but I've always had a problem with shells in my food. It's hard, when you're sitting at the dinner table, to get the shellfish out when the shells are hot and covered with soup, or Bouillabaisse, or marinara sauce, and still be elegant and refined. (And you know how concerned I am with elegance and refinement.)

You seem to have a sophisticated, food-oriented readership. Perhaps you should ask them to weigh in. This is a debate whose time has come.

Unknown said...

Hi, I'd like to know if the bacon fat is a necessary part to this recipe. Is there something I can substitute for bacon?

Chef John said...


That would be a great debate! I'm swamped the next few days, but I'm thinking a FW/SOTL cross-posted debate between us is in order.

I will take the pro-shells in soup side (aka the right side) ;-)

Tamar@StarvingofftheLand said...

You're on! A cross-post debate it is. I almost feel it's unfair, though, given that my side (the anti-shell side) is so clearly correct. It'll be like shooting fish in a barrel but, hey, I'm not proud. (I went fishing at a hatchery once.)

Let me know when you're ready, and we'll meet at high noon outside the saloon.

Chef John said...

oh, it's on. :-)

KrisD said...

CJ, will you be wearing clam shells as spurs?

I gotta say, there's a time and place for shells in your food. Lobster=yes. Crawdaddies=a must. Shrimp=usually. Mussels=always. Clams=seldom. Paella=a given. Omelets=never. So there's my wishywashy stance.

Unknown said...

chef john..........does it tastes like hooters' clam chowder? i love their clam chowder so i guess i'll try this one.thanks

Daniel W. said...

Made this tonight! Good stuff indeed!!!!

Unknown said...

sorry such a late comment on an older post but, no shells! nothing worse than fancy to diner that you have to pick shrimp tails off or pick at hard shells in a dish.

Only exceptions, the obvious, pick n peel, steamers, new orleans bbq shrimp, etc. imho. good stuff chef

Mokole said...

Also sorry for an even later comment...but is there anyway to repost this video. The current link is broken and I really enjoy watching them before trying stuff out.

Unknown said...

Hi Chef John, I would like to request if possible, the video of your clam chowder. Please show it again or send it through my e-mail. Thank you.

Unknown said...

I would like to add to the requests for the video. It appears that is no longer about. Thanks!