New England Clam Chowder

My first soup of the fall 2011 season was a tasty, freshly made New England Clam Chowder. Nothing beats making the chowder from fresh clam stock. I gobbled this up for 4 days straight as it makes a lot. Feel free to freeze half to eat on more chilly nights. Add a side of fresh Italian garlic bread, and you will have a very filling meal. I could not stop dipping my bread in the soup.

Ingredients

48 little neck clams, scrubbed
1 1/2 quarts water
1/4 cup bacon, finely diced
3 onions, minced
1 small bay leaf (or half of a large leaf)
3 russet potatoes, peeled and diced
2 cups 2% milk
1 cup light cream
salt to taste
black pepper to taste
2 tablespoons parsley, chopped

Preparation

Rinse the clams well in cold water and drain. Place them in a deep pan with the water and bring to a boil. Cover and steam for about 10 minutes until the shells open. Remove from the pan and place in a bowl to cool.

When the clams have cooled slightly, remove them from their shells. Discard any clams that have not opened. Chop the clams coarsely. Strain the cooking liquid through a strainer lined with cheesecloth and reserve.

In a large saucepan, fry the bacon until it renders its fat and begins to brown. Add the onions and cook over low heat for 8 to 10 minutes until soften.

Stir in the bay leaf, potatoes, and clam cooking liquid. Bring to a boil and boil for 5 to 10 minutes.

Stir in the chopped clams. Continue to cook until the potatoes are tender, stirring from time to time. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Stir in the warm milk and cream, and heat very slowly for 5 minutes longer. Discard the bay leaf and adjust the seasoning. Serve sprinkled with parsley.

Servings: 8
Serving size: 1/8 of a recipe (13.4 ounces).
Calories 297.11

Tips
Do not use heavy cream, as it has too many calories and fat.
If you cannot find light cream, use 1/2 cup regular cream.

Source

The recipe was a little high in fat so I replaced the milk with 2% milk, reduced the bay leaf to a very small one (or half of a large leaf), and noted parsley as a must to balance out the bay leaf flavor (not just a garnish). The type of clams and potatoes were not specified so little neck clams and russet potatoes were my choice.

Original Author: Debra Mayhew
Original Source: The Soup Bible

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