New England Clam Chowder
This delicious soup can be served for lunch or dinner. Add bread and salad to make it a hearty meal. Clam chowder is one of the best things you can do with clams and you can either use fresh or canned clams to make it. Potato, onions, and perhaps carrot strips often feature in recipes, along with celery and sometimes salt pork or bacon. It is believed that clams were added to this soup because they were easy to find and gather.
You can often order this chowder in restaurants on Fridays as a seafood option. Not having meat on a Friday used to be a requirement for Catholics. It is not so common any more but the tradition has continued. There are different types of clam chowder and the following recipe is the New England style, which is creamy, and usually made with potatoes, onions, and clams.
The recipe contains sherry for a delicious kick, thyme, and bay leaf for aromatic flavor, and you can season the soup with Worcestershire sauce, tabasco, salt and black pepper, adding as little or as much as you want. You can also serve these condiments on the side, so people can further season their own bowls.
- ⅓ cup dry sherry
- 2 or 3 cups bottled clam juice
- 1 diced onion
- ½ teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
- 1 lb peeled, diced potatoes
- 3 cups heavy cream or Half & Half
- 1¼ lbs canned clams
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 finely chopped bacon slices
- 1 bay leaf
- Salt and black pepper, to taste
- Tabasco sauce, to taste
- Worcestershire sauce, to taste
- Oyster or saltine crackers, to serve
- Lemon slices, to serve
- Mince the clams and reserve the juice.
- Combine the juice with enough bottled juice to equal 3 cups in total.
- Cook the bacon in a pot over a low heat until crisp, then stir in the onion and cook until translucent.
- Add the flour and cook for a few minutes over a low heat, stirring with a wooden spoon.
- Whisk in the clam juice and bring the soup to a simmer.
- Cook for 5 minutes, stirring now and then.
- If the liquid is any thicker than heavy cream consistency, add more clam juice.
- Stir in the potatoes, thyme and bay leaf, and simmer for 15 minutes or until the potatoes are tender.
- Simmer the clams in the cream in a pan for 6 minutes or until the clams are cooked.
- Add this clam mixture to the potato mixture and simmer for 2 minutes.
- Stir in the sherry (you can use less or more, as you prefer) and season with salt, pepper, Worcestershire sauce, and Tabasco.
- Serve with lemon slices and crackers on the side.
New England clam chowder is a rich, creamy treat. Many people order this from restaurants because it is so special, unaware than making their own version at home is not difficult at all. This recipe shows you how to make the most delicious chowder and you can sprinkle some parsley over it before serving, like you see in the picture, or add a sprig of parsley instead if you like. Make this New England clam chowder your own by adjusting the amounts of sherry, tabasco, Worcestershire sauce, salt and black pepper, to give it your own signature flavor. You could also add some sliced celery or carrots when you add the potatoes if you like, for extra nutrients.
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