I am not a big fan of shell fish – aside from shrimp, but I decided to make something new and exciting today. I typically stick to simple dishes during the week, but enjoy sprucing up the menu on the weekend. Decided to make New England Clam Chowder topped with garlic and butter croutons….hubby loved it!
Yield: 3-4 servings
4 pounds of Clam of your choice (I used littleneck clams), opened clams discarded
2 slices thick-cut Bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted Butter
1 cups Onions, finely chopped
1/2 cup Celery, finely chopped
2 large cloves Garlic, minced
3 sprigs fresh thyme leaves or a pinch of dried thyme (crush in hand before adding to wake it up)
1 (12 oz) can of Sweet Corn
3 cups of Clam Juice
1 Bay Leaf
1 1/2 cups Russet Potatoes, peeled, cubed
1 cups Heavy Cream
Black Pepper, to taste
Salt, to taste
Garlic bread croutons
Handful Italian flat-leaf Parsley, minced
1/4 cup Chives or Green Onions, finely chopped
In a large stockpot bring 1 cup of water to a boil. Add clams, cover and cook for 5 minutes. Uncover, stir clams with a wooden spoon. Cover and cook 5 to 10 minutes longer (this will depend on the type and size of clams you are using), or until most of the clams are opened.
Transfer the clams to a large bowl, let cool. When the clams are cool enough to handle, remove them from their shells and chop into 1/2-inch pieces. Set clams and broth aside.
In a large heavy pot cook the bacon until crisp and the fat is rendered. Pour off all bacon fat except 2 tablespoons. Add the butter, onions and celery and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, thyme and bay leaves, and cook until the vegetables are thoroughly wilted, about 3 minutes, do not brown. Add the potatoes and clam juice, and bring to a boil. Lower the heat, cover, and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes, or until the broth thickens slightly and the potatoes are very tender. (If you like a thicker broth, mash some of the potatoes against the side of the pot with a wooden spoon.) Remove from the heat, stir in clams and heavy cream, corn and season with pepper and salt, if necessary.
Let stand, covered for 30 minutes, to allow the flavors to combine. Place the pot over low heat, and slowly reheat, being careful not to bring to the boil. Serve hot, garnished with croutons, parsley and chives/green onions.