Clam Chowder is by far one of my favorite soups to eat…anytime of the year! I see it on a menu…it is a must try for me. I have been making this recipe for a few years now. It is my version of Tyler Florence’s, Classic Clam Chowder. It is definitely not a quick recipe…but it’s so worth the time and effort involved. You will end up with a rich clam broth that is transformed into a creamy chowder that everyone will love. My suggestion…double the recipe!
This recipe requires two steps…preparing the broth and making the chowder. Head on over to The Carolina Meat & Fish Co. and pick up a few dozen top neck clams, little neck clams and clam broth and let’s get cooking! This is another perfect recipe for your Christmas Eve dinner…check out my other recipes for The Feast of the Seven Fishes by clicking here!
What you need for the broth:
- 6 strips bacon (cut into tiny pieces)
- 1 small shallot (I typically cut in half with skin on)
- 2 cloves garlic, smashed
- 8 sprigs fresh thyme
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 cups clam juice
- 1/2 cup white wine
- 1 cup water
- 1 dozen top neck or chowder clams (cleaned and scrubbed)
- 1 tsp olive oil
- juice and rind of one lemon
What you need for the chowder:
- 4 strips bacon (cut into tiny pieces)
- 1 TBLS olive oil
- 2 TBLS butter
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 small shallot, minced
- 2 tsp fresh thyme leaves
- 2 TBLS flour
- 4 red potatoes (skin on…cut into tiny…tiny cubes)
- Clam broth (recipe above)
- 8 -12 little neck clams
- 1 cup chopped clams (I use fresh if I can get or canned…this is optional, I just prefer a lot of clams)
- 2 cups heavy whipping cream
- Black pepper
- Fresh chopped parsley
How to prepare the broth:
This is a crucial part of building great flavor in your chowder. Most of the ingredients you are using to create the broth can just be thrown into the pot skin and all…it will be discarded in the end. In large pot, add the bacon pieces and cook until browned. Remove the bacon from the pot and reserve. You can use this to top your chowder when serving. To the same pot, add the olive oil, garlic, shallot, thyme sprigs, and bay leaves. Cook for about 3 to 4 minutes. Add in the top neck clams, lemon juice, lemon rind, white wine, clam juice, and water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover with lid and allow to simmer. Check in about 5 minutes. Transfer clams from pot to a bowl as they open. Discard any clams that do not open.
Strain (I use a mesh strainer) broth into a bowl and reserve. Discard veggies/herbs used to make the broth. Remove clams from shells and chop.
How to prepare the chowder:
In the same pot you used to prepare the broth, add the olive oil, butter and bacon. Cook bacon until browned. Add the garlic, shallot, and thyme. Cook for another 3 minutes. Coat the vegetables/bacon with the flour and cook for another minute or so just to take away the raw flour taste. Add the reserved clam broth and bring to a boil. Add the cream and potatoes and boil hard until the potatoes are soft (this should not take very long as long as you cut the potatoes in a tiny dice…maybe 8 to 10 minutes). Add all of the chopped clams to the pot and season with black pepper.
Add the little neck clams to the pot. Cover and simmer until they open. Remove any clams from pot that do not open. Stir in the fresh parsley. To serve, fill a bowl with the chowder, top with the reserved bacon pieces and a touch of fresh parsley. Oyster crackers and hot sauce can also be offered as additional toppings. ENJOY!