Growing up in New York, one of my favorite comfort foods was New England clam chowder. The smell of little neck clams steaming open, the wafting aroma of a roux made with freshly cut bacon fat and flour. Sigh. Now that I live in the middle of the desert, I can still cook the same delicious foods, with a little bit of adaptation. Gone are the freshly cut bacon slabs (my dad was a butcher) and fresh clams just brought to the docks. But I have to say, quality packaged bacon and frozen clam meat have saved the day!
For this chowder, you can use fresh clams, frozen clams, or canned clams. If you use fresh clams, reserve 2 cups of the water you boiled them in and for canned clams, add one 8oz. bottle of clam juice and be sure to add the canned clams with their canned juice. For frozen clams, use 2 8oz. bottles of clam juice.
Gather up your ingredients.
Chop the bacon and add to a large dutch oven or soup pot. Heat on medium until the bacon bits are browned. Remove with a slotted spoon and set on a paper towel.
To the bacon drippings, add the celery and onion and cook until translucent, about 2-3 minutes. Add the garlic and potatoes, scraping up all the browned bits along the way. Stir and cook for about 2 minutes, allowing the flavors to marry.
To the pot add clam juice, water, bullion, ground black pepper, and thyme. Bring to a boil and turn down to a simmer to cook the potatoes, about 15 minutes.
While the potatoes are cooking, whisk together the flour and half-and-half. Once the potatoes are ready, add the clams, half-and-half mixture, and the bacon to the pot. Stir together and bring almost to a boil, allowing the chowder to thicken. Let simmer for 5 minutes, remove from heat and serve.Print
New England Clam Chowder
4 strips of good quality raw bacon, chopped
3/4 c. diced celery
1/2 c. diced onion
1 clove garlic, minced
2 c. red potatoes, cut into 1” pieces
1 c. water
2 8oz. bottles clam juice
2 bags frozen clams
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
2 c. half-and-half
1/3 c. all-purpose flour
In a dutch oven on medium heat, add chopped bacon and cook until browned.
Remove from pan with a slotted spoon and set on a paper towel.
To the bacon fat add the onion and celery, cooking until translucent, about 2-3 minutes.
Add the garlic and potatoes, scraping up all the browned bits.
Continue stirring the potatoes and garlic into the mix for about 2 minutes, allowing the flavors to marry.
Add clam juice, water, bullion, black pepper, and dried thyme.
Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer, to cook the potatoes, about 15 minutes.
While the potatoes are cooking, whisk together the half-and-half and flour.
Add this mixture to the pot when the potatoes are ready.
Bring just to a boil, add the clams and bacon, and simmer for 5 minutes.
Remove from heat and serve.